CV NEWS FEED // Deutsche Welle, the German government official media network, highlighted its own pro-abortion bias after it ran an article expressing “concern” about how United States pro-life advocates and the Texas-based 40 Days for Life campaign are influencing the pro-life movement in Germany.
Last February in the local German town of Frankfurt, a small group of pro-life citizens prayed outside of a facility that provides pregnant mothers with the legal papers to get an abortion.
“Clutching hymn sheets and rosaries, they chanted the Hail Mary prayer. Some held placards bearing images of smiling babies or a tiny clenched fist with the slogans ‘Unborn Lives Matter’ and ‘Abortion Is Not a Solution,’” wrote Helen Whittle for the German official media network Deutsche Welle on January 24.
“The demonstration was held by 40 Days for Life, a movement that originated in the US state of Texas in 2004. It calls on protesters to hold so-called vigils outside of abortion facilities for 40 days beginning on Ash Wednesday to coincide with Lent,” Whittle added.
In Germany, a woman can obtain an abortion up to 12 weeks “only if a counseling certificate is obtained at least three days before the procedure,” Whittle wrote.
The German organization Pro Familia Center is legally permitted to issue these certificates. In February, these 40 Days for Life advocates prayed outside of Pro Familia’s Frankfurt location.
Germany’s Family Minister Lisa Pau responded to the pro-life advocates’ actions by introducing legislation on January 24 that would “prevent demonstrators from approaching or harassing visitors within a [320 ft] radius of abortion clinics and family planning centers,” Whittle reported:
Posters or flyers aimed at intimidating women will also be banned. Anyone violating the ban could be punished with a fine of up to €5,000 ($5,445).
Whittle noted that under current German law, without the doctor’s counseling certificate, “any woman who has an abortion is liable to prosecution, as is the doctor who performs the procedure.”
U.S-based pro-life groups such as Alliance Defending Freedom, the March for Life, and individual pro-life activists all pose a cause for concern for the pro-abortion agenda in Germany, Whittle indicated. Citing the research of journalist Ulli Jentsch, Whittle highlighted that U.S. pro-lifers provide “a role model for activists in Germany.”
Jentsch “has been researching the extreme right, Christian fundamentalism and the ‘pro-life’ movement in Germany for more than 20 years,” Whittle wrote. “He says that the anti-abortion movement in the US has been a role model for activists in Germany and Europe since at least the 1990s.”
Jentsch also informed Deutsche Welle of the U.S. activists who have even come to Germany to promote the pro-life cause.
Jentsch “points to Terrisa Bukovinac, a prominent US anti-abortion activist who was a guest speaker at the annual ‘March for Life’ anti-abortion demo in Berlin in September 2022,” Whittle wrote. “During her speech, Bukovinac, a self-declared atheist and left-leaning progressive, called abortion a ‘global genocide.’”
Jentsch also explained that “right-wing conservative think tanks in the US are also pouring money — and expertise — into expanding their own ideologically aligned organizations in Europe and around the world,” Whittle reported:
The aim is to import the successful US “litigation model,” where with a lot of legal know-how and financial backing, contentious cases are brought before the courts in the hope of setting a legal precedent far more restrictive than constitutionally intended.
Jentsch is also quoted by Deutsche Welle claiming that the pro-life movement is “very active and well funded, and this work wouldn’t be possible without funding from the US.”
“They use the money to support certain cases… and they’ve also supported cases pertaining to the ‘vigils,’’ Jentsch said. “They are in Strasbourg [the seat of the European Parliament], in Brussels [where the EU is headquartered], sitting at the interface where policy making takes place, and that is their great strength.”
Whittle also criticized the “conservative Christian legal advocacy group” Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), and essentially warned of its capabilities against Germany’s pro-abortion advocates.
“Lawyers from ADF’s international arm supported the organizer of the ‘40 Days for Life’ protest group, Pavica Vojnovic, in her case against the municipal government in the German city of Pforzheim after it banned protesters from gathering outside of the Pro Familia center there,” Whittle reported, adding Vojnovic eventually won her legal battle.
The German government’s “crack down on ‘pro-life’ protests,” as Whittle put it, is “welcomed” by Pro Familia, a spokesperson told Deutsche Welle.
“What is missing is a uniform legal approach against this siege,” the Pro Familia spokesperson added, once again expressing concern over the capabilities of the pro-life movement in Germany.