According to a commission commissioned by the federal government, abortions should in principle be permitted in the first twelve weeks of pregnancy in the future. This is reported by “Spiegel”, citing the final report of the working group, which is to be presented next Monday.

According to the magazine, it says that the fundamental illegality of abortion in the early stages of pregnancy is untenable. The current regulations in the Criminal Code did not stand up to “constitutional, international and European law scrutiny”. However, as soon as the fetus is capable of independent viability, abortions should remain prohibited, according to the Commission. This limit is approximately the 22nd week since the start of the last menstruation.

Abortion is currently fundamentally illegal. However, it remains unpunished if it is carried out in the first twelve weeks. In addition, the pregnant woman must seek advice beforehand; There must be at least three days between consultation and termination. It is expressly not illegal to terminate a pregnancy after rape or if there is a risk to the life, physical or mental health of the pregnant woman.

Legalization of abortions possible beyond the twelfth week

In the weeks “between the first trimester and the late phase,” the legislature can then determine at its own discretion “up to which point in time it allows an abortion with the woman’s consent,” the commission continued. Legalizing abortions beyond the twelfth week would also be possible.

Whether the obligation to provide advice is maintained is also at the discretion of the legislature. There must continue to be exceptions for medical or criminological indications, even in later phases of pregnancy.

The Commission also sees room for new regulations in the areas of egg donation and surrogacy. It is ethically justifiable to allow egg donation in Germany, provided that the legalization is “based on a legal basis that, in particular, guarantees the necessary protection of the donors and the well-being of the child”. In the case of altruistic, i.e. selfless, surrogacy, it is at the discretion of the legislature to maintain the current ban. However, in certain cases it could be permissible.

Criticism from the Union and Catholic associations

When asked, the Health and Family Ministries initially did not want to comment on the “Spiegel” report and referred to a planned presentation of the commission’s recommendations next week. The Family Ministry of Lisa Paus (Greens) recalled the independence of the experts and the confidentiality of the content discussed. “The commission will present the results of its work to the federal government on April 15 in the form of a final report. “This final report will not only contain the results and any recommendations for action, but also the corresponding justifications,” it said.

The Union faction and Catholic associations sharply criticized the commission's recommendations. “A fundamental legalization of abortions would go against the child’s right to life and run counter to the case law of the Federal Constitutional Court,” said the deputy chairwoman of the Union parliamentary group, Andrea Lindholz, (CSU) to the magazine “Spiegel”. “It is not easy to find a balanced solution to difficult situations. But it is completely impossible to simply legalize everything,” said the CSU politician.

The First Parliamentary Managing Director of the Union faction, Thomas Frei (CDU), warns the traffic light against implementing the commission's recommendations. “In my view, it would be completely unnecessary for the coalition to deal with such an issue now,” Frei told the magazine on Tuesday. If the coalition adopts the Commission's proposals, “we would sue in Karlsruhe,” announced the CDU politician.

The Catholic family bishop Heiner Koch also warns against changing the so-called abortion paragraph 218. “The existing regulation upholds both the need and concern of the mother and the protection of the unborn child. I think it is very problematic to jeopardize this through a new regulation,” said the Berlin Archbishop, who heads the Family Commission in the German Bishops’ Conference, to the Catholic News Agency (KNA). Koch had already commented before the first preliminary reports became known.

Caritas criticized the recommendations as “unrealistic”. The commission is now obviously proposing to replace the advisory concept with a two-stage deadline solution, explained Caritas President Eva Maria-Welskop-Deffaa. At a time when young parents were already seeing how their child was developing in their mother's womb with their first ultrasound images, this seemed unrealistic. The Aktion Lebenrecht association emphasized that the unborn child's right to life would be definitively abolished with these proposals. The experts do not see the need to comprehensively protect it at any stage of its existence. In a specially created survey, the Donum Vitae counseling association points out the importance of counseling for unintentionally pregnant women.

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