Across the Rhine, young German Catholics moving to the left of the episcopate, calling for the repeal of a law criminalizing certain forms of media promotion of abortion. A sign of youth in the final phase of secularization, and which bodes ill for the near future of the Church in the country.
In Germany, abortion is illegal but is decriminalized during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy if the pregnant woman has previously had a medical consultation. A period which is removed in the event of danger of death or “psychic damage.”
Within this fairly flexible framework and with subjective decision criteria, the criminal code has so far prohibited any advertising concerning abortion, in the event that it would be carried out for profit, or in a “seriously offensive” manner.
It is precisely this prohibition on advertising that the ruling coalition is seeking to change, however without repealing it: in March 2022, the principle of the modification of the law was adopted by the left, environmentalists, and liberals.
The most astonishing thing is that the progressive forces have been overtaken on their left by an unexpected player: the Federation of Young German Catholics (BDKJ), which militates against any advertising ban on abortion, in the name of an “image of women that we firmly reject” and on the pretext that “manipulation thrives where information is lacking, and not the other way around,” says Daniela Hottenbacher, president of the BDKJ, taking offense.
A position rejected on April 6 by the German episcopate which has not – yet – broken all the safeguards in terms of ethics: “the protection of life before birth for me is an absolute priority,” recalled Bishop Johannes Wübbe, auxiliary bishop of Osnabrück and president of the youth commission of the German Bishops' Conference (DBK).
For his part, the president of the DBK, Msgr. Georg Bätzing, for whom the art of compromise is second nature, is trying to moderate the enthusiasm of the youth, and is delighted with the proposal made by the left in power.
For the prelate, abortion cannot appear as “a normal gesture that is part of our daily life”; the pregnant woman needs “serious, reliable, and neutral information” on abortion; and it would be necessary to “strengthen the counseling and support services for women in distress in order to perceive their needs and show them prospects of life with the child.”
Soothing words, which fit perfectly into the synodal logorrhea, and which would almost make you forget that in all cases abortion flouts the natural law and the eternal law.
According to the Federal Statistical Office, across the Rhine, 100,000 voluntary terminations of pregnancy were performed in Germany during the year 2020: their number was 220,000 in France over the same period.