13.05.2009

The doctors’ duty to advise and three-day waiting period

The German parliament (Bundestag) passes the late abortion compromise

On 13 May 2009 the German parliament decided to amend the Pregnancy Crisis Act (Schwangerschaftskonfliktgesetzes). In future, doctors who have diagnosed a possible prenatal impairment of the child will have to advise the parents on the "psychosocial aspects" of the impairment and provide information about other support options. In addition, there must be a period of three days between diagnosis and abortion. But there was not even a parliamentary majority to improve the statistical coverage of late abortions. The legislature does not want to know how and why children who would be viable outside the womb are killed. Hence the public cannot inform itself about out the number of fetal killings due to errors in the prenatal diagnosis. There is the obvious concern that the discussion about a law which broke the prohibition on killing could go public. Solidarity with and sympathy for unborn children and their families are not welcome. Although the federal decision is the first step towards improving the protection of life in over thirty years when they first started to repeal the abortion law, it must be seen clearly that the legislature, in its current constellation, cannot be expected to take further steps towards strengthening the protection of life. Therefore Civic engagement is more in demand than ever.

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