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Facts and Findings

Pregnancy Conflict and the Principle of Dual Advocacy

by Jochen Sautermeister

On the current discussion about § 218 StGB

The renegotiation of abortion laws in Germany raises profound questions: Can the balance between women's rights and the protection of the unborn be maintained? Prof. Sautermeister warns against neglecting the principle of "dual advocacy" and calls for a nuanced debate. A critical view of a societal turning point.

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The debate on pregnancy conflicts in Germany is caught between the protection of unborn life and the reproductive autonomy of women. The coalition agreement of the traffic-light coalition aims to strengthen reproductive rights, which includes reviewing the existing abortion law under §218 of the Criminal Code. Critics see this as a threat to the moral and legal coordinates that protect unborn life. The article sheds light on the legal, ethical, and societal dimensions of the conflict and introduces the concept of "dual advocacy" – an approach that tries to safeguard both the woman's autonomy and the unborn's right to life.

The general criticism that mandatory counselling undermines the right to reproductive self-determination is not convincing. This is because it is based on the confusion of two different understandings of autonomy or self-determination. Regulating abortion outside of the criminal code, from the perspective of reproductive autonomy, would violate the principle of dual advocacy and abandon the socially proven compromise regarding § 218 StGB.

Read the full Facts & Findings: "Pregnancy conflict and the principle of dual advocacy – On the current discussion about § 218 StGB" here as a PDF.

Please note, to date the paper is only available in German.

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Patricia Ehret


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About this series

The series informs in a concentrated form about important positions of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung on current topics. The individual issues present key findings and recommendations, offer brief analyses, explain the Foundation's further plans and name KAS contact persons.


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