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Abortion After Rape

Magdalene Gutenberg

c. October 5-6, 1946 — Gynecologists’ Conference, Germany


In the discussion today, substantial charges were repeatedly raised about the abusive exploitation of the law of August 28, 1945, concerning the termination of a pregnancy caused by a sexual crime. In fact, there was even a demand to repeal this law in order to avoid these abuses.   . . . .

Incorrect decisions in which the termination of a pregnancy was authorized on the basis of false information account for, at most, 25% of cases — and not, as stated here, 50-75%. However, this fact, i.e., that a certain percentage of incorrect decisions occurs, must under no circumstances provide reason to eliminate the law of August 29, 1945. The woman must have the fundamental right to demand the termination of pregnancy if that pregnancy was caused by a crime of violence. Whether the approval of termination is used in each case or whether it is refrained from for health or ideological reasons must be left to each individual woman. Questions of doubt about the nature and advisability of carrying out the termination of a pregnancy are irrelevant vis-à-vis the woman’s fundamental right.


Translation by Thomas Dunlap.



Source: Zentralblatt für Gynäkologie [Central Publication for Gynecologists] (1947), Heft 2.



Also: Udo Wengst and Hans Günther Hockerts, Geschichte der Sozialpolitik in Deutschland seit 1945, Bd. 2/2: 1945-1949: Die Zeit der Besatzungszonen. Sozialpolitik zwischen Kriegsende und der Gründung zweier deutscher Staaten. Dokumente [The History of Social Policy in Germany since 1945, Vol. 2/2: 1945-1949. The Era of the Occupation Zones. Social Policy between the End of the War and the Founding of Two German States. Documents]. Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2001, No. 87, pp. 185-86.