Abortion Debates in Germany

Lynn Kamenitsa

in Abortion Politics, Women's Movements, and the Democratic State

Published in print November 2001 | ISBN: 9780199242665
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600258 | DOI:

Series: Gender and Politics

 Abortion Debates in Germany

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Abortion law reform was a mobilizing issue for the women's movement actors in Germany. Despite their activism, abortion debates returned again and again to the goal of protecting unborn fetal life. Thus, despite two reforms that decriminalize abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, the women's movement has not been successful in gaining its demands. Their primary adversary is the Constitutional Court, which has required that the law put the rights of the foetus first. Today, abortions are criminalized but not prosecuted if the woman gets extensive mandatory pro‐birth counselling. Women's policy agencies were active in the 1990s, but largely symbolic with respect to movement goals on the abortion issue.

Keywords: abortion law; activism; constitutional court; counselling; foetal rights; Germany; women's movement; women's policy agencies

Chapter.  10147 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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