Abortion Law in Germany

Short history of the Abortion Law in Germany:

1871 The parliament of the German Reichstag passed §218 according to that abortion is prohibited and will be punished with imprisonment or financial penalty.

1927 Abortion is allowed if the life of the pregnant women is in danger.

1933 Under the N**i Regime abortion was prohibited in any case. Additionally, advertisement for abortion was punished with imprisonment.

1943 Abortion was punished by death penalty meanwhile abortion to persons seen as part of ”inferior” ethnic groups, like J****h people or humans from east Europe, been unpunished.

1945 The §218 from 1871 was implemented again.

1950 The newly founded DDR allowed abortion in case of medical reasons.

1965 The DDR is allowing abortion in case of mental affects for the pregnant women.

1972 The DDR is implementing that abortion is unpunished until the 12th week of pregnancy.

1976 The BRD is implementing that abortion will be unpunished until the 12th week of pregnancy in case the life of the pregnant woman is in danger; in case the pregnant woman was a rape victim; in case of a psychological or a social exceptional situation.

1995 After the reunification of the DDR and BRD it took some while to come together with the new version of paragraph 218 saying that abortion is prohibited but will be unpunished after an obligate consultation.


It might be surprising for a lot people but according to the paragraph 218 abortions in Germany are prohibited.  The Paragraph 218 was established in 1871 and is still part of the German code of law. Due to the feminist movement of the 1968 revolution the paragraph was modified in the 1970s with an additional paragraph 218a, saying abortions will not be punished under certain circumstances. Meanwhile the DDR was implementing that abortion will not be punished in general until the 12th week of pregnancy, showing that it is the own decision of a women to have a child or not.

After the reunification of DDR and BRD the paragraph 218 was one of the most discussed topics between politicians of the former DDR and BRD and no agreement could be found. That is why from 1990 until 1995 there have been two different law regulation concerning abortion in one country, which might be an unique case of law history. In all former DDR provinces, East Germany, abortion was allowed while in West Germany, abortion was prohibited. Only in 1995 politicians from East and West Germany came to an agreement that is since then in charge.

Paragraph 218 is basically saying that abortion will not be punished because of: medical indication (e.g. risk for the life of the mother, mental disability of the child) criminological indication (e.g. rape) and in case the pregnant women went through a consultation arrangement. These consultation arrangement means that the woman has to go to a state-proved consultation, where she has to explain the reasons why she wants to do an abortion. She will also get information about the medical intervention, the cost of an abortion and how the state might support her in case she is going to decide to have the child.

However, in the end that is how Germany came to the ridiculously law that is saying abortion is prohibited but will not be punished.

Furthermore, Germany has since 1933 the law 219a that says advertisement for abortion will be punished with prison. A law made under the N**i Regime and as plenty other laws from that time, is still existing in the German code of law. But was does advertisement mean? In this case advertisement means that it is forbidden for gynecologists to even give a simple information at their websites that there are going to undertake abortions. If we take into consideration under which regime the law was made, it is clear that the point of it was to limit the access to information about abortion by calling this information “advertisement“.

Lately, paragraph  219a was highly discussed in Germany when different gynecologists been suited and finally punished with a fine for doing “advertisement“ for abortion on their websites by just giving the information about the technique their used for the procedure of abortion. In February 2019 the German Bundestag decided to modify the paragraph in the way that it is now allowed for gynecologist to give the information that their do abortion but there are not allowed to give any further information about the costs, procedure or anything else. Only state-approved organizations are allowed to give further information’s.

So, in fact as pregnant women first you have to inform yourself through these state-proved organizations about the procedure of abortion that are, by the way, often Christian organizations. Only here you will get a list of gynecologist undertaking abortions and a permission that allows you to abort (according to paragraph 218a) after you have been consulted in a way that should be: ‘An open-ended consultation that encourages the woman to keep the child while at the same time not persuades her.’ (Paragraph 219) After the consultation you have to wait exactly three days to go back to your gynecologist, who is than allowed to undertake the abortion.

In conclusion, Germany in year 2019 has still paragraph 218 – abortion is prohibited – and paragraph 219 – advertisement for abortion will be punished.

The question why, especially the conservative parties, in Germany are not willing to make abortion legal until the 12th week of pregnancy and to delete the law of punishing advertisement, can only be answered by their fear that women are not able to decide about their own bodies. It is not only ridiculously to believe that if abortion was allowed without limitations women would do it all the time without thinking and feeling about the consequences for their bodies and psyche, it is a pure hostility towards women. Also if we speak about the advertisement paragraph, what would happen if it would not exist anymore? Huge billboards for abortion would appear all over the street, declaring: ‘Get now three abortions for the price of one’? These cynically speaking are exactly the argumentations used by right-wing and conservative politicians to hold on with paragraph 218 and 219. But instead of stigmatize abortion, these politicians should engage for supporting single mothers and fathers, poor families, low budget workers in order to make it a more considerable option to decide for raising up a child.

In order to have the right of self-determination of women and men paragraph 218 and 219 must be changed. Abortion has to be allowed and not only unpunished and access to information’s about the procedure of abortion should be allowed and given through every website of gynecologist.

By | 2019-05-03T08:40:07+00:00 May 3rd, 2019|Categories: article|0 Comments

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