Termination of Pregnancy for Medical Indications under Sec. 218a Para. 2 of the German Criminal Code - Real-life Data from the "Gießen Model".


Background Following the legal provisions on the termination of pregnancies in Art. 13 of the SFHG (Law on the Assistance for Pregnant Women and Families, passed on 27.07.1992, BGBl. I, p. 1398) the so-called embryopathic indication for termination was abandoned. Since then, sec. 218a para. 2 of the German Criminal Code (StGB) states that for late terminations, i.e., terminations after the 12th week of gestation post conception, the pregnant woman must be in exceptional distress "according to medical opinion". Method Between 01.05.2012 and 25.07.2016, a total of 160 pregnancy terminations were carried out in Gießen University Hospital under sec. 218a para. 2 StGB. The following data were obtained from the patients' files: age of the pregnant woman, number of pregnancies, type of fetal disease or malformation, time of diagnosis, medical and psychosocial counseling given to the pregnant woman, time of termination or delivery, type of termination, fetal gender. Results 160 pregnant women (mean age: 31.6 years) underwent termination of pregnancy between the 13th - 37th week of gestation. Chromosomal anomalies were diagnosed prenatally in 60 cases, and anomalies were diagnosed on ultrasonography in 100 cases, with the preponderance of cases presenting with developmental disorders of the central nervous system and cardiovascular system. Conclusion In addition to recording intrauterine fetal disorders, when pregnancies are terminated under sec. 218a para. 2 StGB, treating physicians are expected to give plausible reasons why "according to medical opinion" the pregnancy represents a danger to the life of the pregnant woman or of grave injury to her physical or mental health and enter these reasons in the patient's medical records.

DOI: 10.1055/s-0043-103461

Cite this paper

@article{Dettmeyer2017TerminationOP, title={Termination of Pregnancy for Medical Indications under Sec. 218a Para. 2 of the German Criminal Code - Real-life Data from the "Gie\ssen Model".}, author={Reinhard B. Dettmeyer and Juliane Lang and Roland Axt-Fliedner and Christoph G. Birngruber and H. -R. Tinneberg and Jan Degenhardt}, journal={Geburtshilfe und Frauenheilkunde}, year={2017}, volume={77 4}, pages={352-357} }