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Self-determination, criminalization and mandatory counselling

Impulses for Inquiries into § 218 StGB

Since the Federal Constitutional Court's ruling in 1993 and the legal provisions in 1995, the debate on abortion has largely calmed. The current regulation reflects a compromise between differing legal interests, respecting both the autonomy of the woman, as referenced in Articles 2 and 3 of the Basic Law, and the protection of unborn life, as per Article 1 Section 2.

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In the debate on potential reforms to abortion law, the necessity of mandatory counselling is emphasised, a crucial part of the protection concept demanded by the Federal Constitutional Court. This counselling takes into account the individual nature of each pregnancy conflict and aims to serve as a compromise that balances opposing fundamental rights and ensures societal peace.

Additionally, it is recognised that abortion regulation should always be based on a compromise. The existing legislation, which is founded on a balanced relationship between a woman’s autonomy and the protection of unborn life, is the result of a long-standing societal consensus. Only through compromise can contradictory fundamental rights be considered and societal peace be ensured.

The continuation of mandatory counselling remains a central point of the debate, as it enables women to receive comprehensive, unbiased advice, supporting them in making an informed and autonomous decision. Therefore, counselling not only contributes to the protection of unborn life but also enhances the woman's self-determination and mental health. Maintaining the current regulations, while also accepting changed attitudes, offers a pragmatic approach for the future and reflects the need to consider both the protection of unborn life and women's rights.

Read the full monitor: "Self-determination, criminalization and mandatory counselling" available here as a PDF.

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

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Patricia Ehret


Churches and Religious Communities +49 030 26 996 3784 +49 030 26 996 3551


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The Monitor series deals with one main topic at a time from the perspective of KAS experts and places it in the political and social context on the basis of a few key points.

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