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Abortion in Germany: legal situation, challenges and current developments considering the COVID-19 pandemic

HumanInsight Abortion in Germany: legal situation, challenges and current developments considering the COVID-19 pandemic

Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz. 2023 Feb 6:1-8. doi: 10.1007/s00103-023-03668-6. Online ahead of print.


Abortions are commonplace in Germany. For years, the numbers have changed very little, with about 60 abortions per 10,000 women of reproductive age per year. Those affected and the doctors who perform the abortions have to overcome many hurdles imposed on them by legislation (e.g., §§ 218 ff., Pregnancy Conflict Act).This discussion paper presents data and facts on abortion in Germany. In addition, the following questions are answered: What are the reasons for not using contraception? What factors motivate unplanned pregnant women to terminate their pregnancy? What abortion methods are available? What are the hurdles that have to be overcome before an abortion? The legal situation in Germany is described and it is explained how vulnerable groups such as single parents and people with poor German language skills or a low level of education are particularly affected by the challenges that arise. Moreover, in recent years, fewer and fewer doctors are willing to perform abortions. In addition to personal motives, the high effort, and inadequate remuneration, the reasons include dealing with criminal complaints and hostility. As a result, the practices that perform the procedure are rare and difficult to reach for unintentionally pregnant women. The COVID-19 pandemic has further aggravated the situation, especially for vulnerable groups. However, it has been observed that telemedical offers for abortion "at home" gained in popularity.To ensure that unintended pregnant women continue to receive the professional care they need in the future, urgent measures must be taken to reduce the various hurdles.

PMID:36745213 | PMC:PMC9900524 | DOI:10.1007/s00103-023-03668-6

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