Your Decision

Pregnant - and now?

You are (unintentionally) pregnant? The world is upside down? And you don't know what to do? Seek support quickly. That's what we are here for. Pregnancy conflict counselling centres advise and support you in your decision-making process. It is best to make an appointment at one of our counselling centres. You can come alone, with a friend, your partner, your mother, your father or another accompanying person. In the context of conflict counselling, you can also receive information about the possibility of adoption and confidential birth

What legal aspects do I actually have to consider when I am pregnant?

Keeping the Baby

Should you decide to keep the baby this is your decision! A pregnant minor can – even against the will of her parents and even against the will of the child’s father – independently decide to keep the baby. Pressurising or indeed coercing you to terminate the pregnancy on the part of your parents or the child’s father are punishable offences. You can find advice, support and help at the different pregnancy counselling centres near your home. You can also seek help at the Youth Welfare Office (“Jugendamt”).

Can you Have an Abortion in Germany?

No, but… Under § 218 StGB, terminating a pregnancy is a punishable offence. The exemptions without punishment are summarised in § 218a StGB. Because it is clear to the legislator that girls*women can fall into an emergency situation as a result of an unwanted pregnancy. If the pregnant girl*woman is conflicted due to the pregnancy and is considering abortion, she is legally obliged to seek counselling in a state-recognised pregnancy conflict counselling centre (§ 219 StGB). The aim of counselling under § 5 SchKG (Paragraph 5 of the Pregnancy Conflict Act or “Schwangerschaftskonfliktgesetz”) is to protect life.

However, the law also states the consultation should be open-ended and that it is the pregnant woman* who decides for or against the continuation of the pregnancy. An abortion exempt from punishment is only possible with proof of counselling up to the 12th week of pregnancy. However, abortions may only be performed four days after the counselling. The legal regulations are different for medical or criminological indications.

As a Minor Can you Terminate a Pregnancy without Parental Consent?

As a general rule, underage girls* have the same right to independent, open-ended and, if desired, anonymous counselling as adult women under § 219 StGB in conjunction with the Pregnancy Conflict Act (§ 5 SchKG). If the minor decides to abort after counselling during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, no parent or other adult may oppose her personal decision or exert pressure. It is important to support and respect the decision of minors, because even minors are able to decide for or against a termination of pregnancy and thus for or against motherhood because of their subjective system of values.

But Beware!

If we now consider the age of a pregnant minor, cognitive capacity plays a key role.

Cognitive Capacity with Pregnant Minors

Pregnant under 14s

With pregnant under 14 year olds both the diagnosis of the pregnancy and the counselling can take place without the parents. Here the doctor and the counsellor are bound to confidentiality towards the parents. Involving the parents would be desirable but not when this is against the express wishes of the pregnant girl. However, terminating a pregnancy under 14 years of age without the consent of the parent or guardian is not possible. Where the parents do not agree with the decision of the under 14 year old help can be provided by the Youth Welfare Office (“Jugendamt”) or the family court.

Pregnant 14 to 15 Year Olds

If the pregnant girl* is 14 or 15 the doctor decides in a confidential discussion whether the minor really grasps the impact of her decision (cognitive capacity) and whether involvement of one or both parents is necessary. As a rule, doctors like to cover themselves and prefer a parental declaration of consent for the termination.

Pregnant 16 to 17 Year Olds

With 16 to 17 year olds it is basically assumed that they can decide for themselves whether they wish to terminate the pregnancy or not without including the parents in this decision-making process.