Abortion legislation

Legislation timeline

  • 1950: abortion is legalized in former communist Eastern Germany (German Democratic Republic, GDR)
  • 1976: abortion is allowed (Former Federal Republic of Germany, FRG); revised version §218
  • 1992: new Law after reunification of West and East Germany (27 July)
  • 1993: transitional legal regulations
  • 1995: Law "Schwangeren- und Familienhilfeänderungsgesetz" (21 August)
  • 2010: changes concerning medical grounds

Source: The Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ) (https://www.bmfsfj.de/blob/95278/356f87878e2f128eb9aa85c1451430fb/schwangerschaftsberatung---218-englisch-data.pdf), PRO FAMILIA Bundesverband (https://www.profamilia.de/), Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung BZgA (Federal Centre for Health Education) (http://www.familienplanung.de/beratung/schwangerschaftsabbruch/), Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend (BMFSFJ) (https://www.bmfsfj.de/bmfsfj/72628!search?query=Schwangerschaftsabbruch&newSearch=true)

Abortion conditions

Ground Gestational limit
To save a woman’s life No limit
Because foetal impairment No limit
To preserve a woman’s mental health
To preserve a woman’s physical health
For economic and social reasons
On request 14 weeks from LMP

Source: The Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ) (https://www.bmfsfj.de/blob/95278/356f87878e2f128eb9aa85c1451430fb/schwangerschaftsberatung---218-englisch-data.pdf), PRO FAMILIA Bundesverband (https://www.profamilia.de/), Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung BZgA (Federal Centre for Health Education) (http://www.familienplanung.de/beratung/schwangerschaftsabbruch/), Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend (BMFSFJ) (https://www.bmfsfj.de/bmfsfj/72628!search?query=Schwangerschaftsabbruch&newSearch=true)

Legal conditions

  • Pre-abortion consultation (legal counselling) except in case of rape. The counselling must take place at a state-approved centre which differs from the abortion centre.
  • Written consent by the woman
  • Mandatory 3-day period between pre-abortion consultation and abortion procedure.

Specific conditions for minors

  • Parent’s (or guardian’s) consent required for minors under 18 unless minors are considered to have sufficient decision-making ability.

Practical conditions

Medical abortion conditions

Place Prescription 1st drug taken 2nd drug taken
OB/GYN department of a hospital/clinic Yes Yes Yes
Another physician office Yes Yes Yes
Midwife office
Abortion centre/clinic Yes Yes Yes
At home No No No

Source: The Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ) (https://www.bmfsfj.de/blob/95278/356f87878e2f128eb9aa85c1451430fb/schwangerschaftsberatung---218-englisch-data.pdf), PRO FAMILIA Bundesverband (https://www.profamilia.de/), Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung BZgA (Federal Centre for Health Education) (http://www.familienplanung.de/beratung/schwangerschaftsabbruch/), Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend (BMFSFJ) (https://www.bmfsfj.de/bmfsfj/72628!search?query=Schwangerschaftsabbruch&newSearch=true)

There are no detailed data on what happens when and where. Most abortions are performed in a gynaecological practise. Inpatients in hospital are 6 women which is about 0,6%. There are no data available whether and how often 2nd drug is taken at home

Mandatory pre-abortion examinations

  • None

Involved healthcare professionals

  • Surgical abortion: obstetrician/gynaecologist (OB/GYN) or another physician (except in Bavaria: only OB/GYN)
  • Medical abortion: OB/GYN or another physician

Abortion statistics

Abortion rates per 1.000 women aged 15-49

Source: https://www.rki.de/EN/Content/Health_Monitoring/Health_Reporting/GBEDownloadsJ/FactSheets_en/JHealthMonit_2022_02_Abortion_Germany.pdf?__blob=publicationFile

Overall number of induced abortions

Source: https://www.rki.de/EN/Content/Health_Monitoring/Health_Reporting/GBEDownloadsJ/FactSheets_en/JHealthMonit_2022_02_Abortion_Germany.pdf?__blob=publicationFile

Abortion ratio per 1.000 live births: 129 (2020)

Source: https://www.rki.de/EN/Content/Health_Monitoring/Health_Reporting/GBEDownloadsJ/FactSheets_en/JHealthMonit_2022_02_Abortion_Germany.pdf?__blob=publicationFile

Abortions performed “on request”: 96.2% (2020)

Source: https://www.gbe-bund.de/gbe/pkg_glossar.prc_glossar?p_sprache=E&p_lfdnr=1299&p_aid=97208899&p_uid=gast

Overall number of induced abortions vs. medical abortions

Source: https://www.gbe-bund.de/gbe/pkg_olap_tables.prc_set_hierlevel?p_uid=gast&p_aid=1539331&p_sprache=E&p_help=2&p_indnr=240&p_ansnr=91485794&p_version=4&p_dim=D.963&p_dw=19636&p_direction=drill

Induced abortions per gestational age

Source: https://www.rki.de/EN/Content/Health_Monitoring/Health_Reporting/GBEDownloadsJ/FactSheets_en/JHealthMonit_2022_02_Abortion_Germany.pdf?__blob=publicationFile

Place of abortion

Source: https://www.gbe-bund.de/gbe/pkg_olap_tables.prc_set_hierlevel?p_uid=gast&p_aid=1539331&p_sprache=E&p_help=2&p_indnr=240&p_ansnr=91485794&p_version=6&p_dim=D.963&p_dw=19648&p_direction=drill

Characteristics of women having induced abortion

Distribution of induced abortion according to women age

Source: https://www.rki.de/EN/Content/Health_Monitoring/Health_Reporting/GBEDownloadsJ/FactSheets_en/JHealthMonit_2022_02_Abortion_Germany.pdf?__blob=publicationFile

In 2021, among women who had induced abortion:

  • 100% lived in Germany
  • **% had at least 1 previous induced abortion
  • 59% had at least 1 child.

Fertility and contraception

Fertility rates in women aged 15-49

Source: https://www.destatis.de/EN/Themes/Society-Environment/Population/Births/Tables/birth-rate.html

Women age at first birth

  • 30,5 years of age (2021)

Country-specific characteristics

  • Women have to give written consent.
  • Abortion is not taught during health care professionals’ (HCPs’) medical studies.
  • Medical staff has the right to conscientiously object except for women whose life is in danger.
  • Surgical and medical abortions are reimbursed to resident women only when abortion is due to medical reasons, or in case of rape, or for women with low income. Increase of income limit to 1216 € , further increase of limit with children: every child plus 288€, and in case of high rental costs. Otherwise, women have to pay 200 – 570 €.

Download statistics of Germany

The statistics presented are freely accessible and may be used, copied, displayed or distributed provided that their source is given. You can choose whether you prefer to download the statistics of the last 10 years or the full data set. Press one of the buttons to generate a report in PDF format for this country.

Abbreviations

  • EFTA = European Free Trade Association
  • EU = European Union
  • IUD = intra-uterine device
  • LARC = long-acting reversible contraception
  • LMP = last menstruation period
  • GYN = gynaecologist
  • HCP = health care professional
  • hCG = human chorionic gonadotropin
  • HIV = human immunodeficiency virus
  • OB = obstetrician
  • Rh = Rhesus
  • US = ultrasound

References

  • The Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ) (https://www.bmfsfj.de/blob/95278/356f87878e2f128eb9aa85c1451430fb/schwangerschaftsberatung—218-englisch-data.pdf)
  • PRO FAMILIA Bundesverband (https://www.profamilia.de/)
  • Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung BZgA (Federal Centre for Health Education) (http://www.familienplanung.de/beratung/schwangerschaftsabbruch/)
  • Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend (BMFSFJ) (https://www.bmfsfj.de/bmfsfj/72628!search?query=Schwangerschaftsabbruch&newSearch=true)
  • Weigerungsrecht (§ 12 & 19 SchKG)
  • Volume V of the German Social Insurance Code (SGB V) § 24 b Abs.1, 2

A special thanks to our correspondents for contributing in data collection.
Please contact info@exelgyn.com if you have additional data or would like to comment information

Page last updated: 6 June 2023