Women on Web supports the legalization of abortion in Germany and calls for improved access to abortion services

The consistent demand for support that Women on Web receives from Germany clearly shows that the legal set up currently discussed by the German government fails to meet people’s needs when having an unwanted pregnancy.


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The results of an expert commission on abortion set up by the German government got published and handed over to German ministers today. As already reported by news outlet Spiegel last week the commission concluded the current regulation does not stand up to "constitutional, international and European law". They suggest the legalization* of abortions within at least 12 weeks of pregnancy, which to this day are listed in the criminal code. The recommendations are less concrete on mandatory counselling and pregnancies beyond 12 weeks, leaving the decision open to the legislators. However, none of the commission’s results are legally binding.

Women on Web strongly encourages legislators to use this rare opportunity to significantly advance access to abortion services. 

Women on Web has been receiving an increasing number of requests for help from Germany for years, with over 2,000 help requests in 2023 alone. According to our own research people reach out both from a place of empowerment and disempowerment. For the latter, it is often impossible to obtain adequate and timely abortion care locally. Particularly vulnerable groups of people, such as those who experience violence, those that must keep the abortion secret, those that care for young children, those who live in rural areas or have an insecure residence status, are hit particularly hard by the current barriers.

“Abortion must be recognized and regulated as regular health care. We call on the German government to finally catch up with international standards and the guidelines of the World Health Organization by removing abortion from criminal law and supporting people to have abortions on their own terms.", Executive Director Venny Ala-Siurua comments.

Women on Web strongly suggests ending mandatory counselling and waiting periods to alleviate barriers123. Additionally, Women on Web emphasizes the need to improve the availability of low barrier telemedical services, as they have been implemented widely as standard form of care in France and the UK. Such measures not only enhance convenience and privacy but also address geographical and logistical challenges, ensuring equitable access to safe and timely abortion services across the country.  

Women on Web is a non-profit organization that provides information and access to abortion pills by mail around the world. Founded in 2005, Women on Web has supported over 120,000 people to have a safe abortion with pills at home. Women on Web data from Germany shows numerous barriers to abortion access and was published in this study in 2019.  

For interview requests, questions or comments in German and English please contact inga@womenonweb.org 


*context: It is possible to officially obtain an abortion in Germany up to 12 weeks. However, it is still regulated in the criminal code, considered a crime, that remains unpunished if severel steps, including mandatory counselling and a 3-day waiting period, are followed. This legal set up has a negative effect on abortion access on many levels, one being that abortion is not covered by public health insurance.

1 https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-022-13620-z  

2 https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240039483

3 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7250210/

Photo: Bündnis für Sexuelle Selbstbestimmung