Inspired by a campaign in France, 374 women signed an appeal to abolish Paragraph 218 of the Basic Law, publicly admitting that they themselves had had abortions. (Criminal proceedings against the signatories were initiated but later dropped.) The appeal generated tremendous public attention when it was reprinted in Stern magazine on June 6, 1971.

Abortion and Women’s Solidarity (1971)



Every year about one million women in the Federal Republic have abortions. Hundreds die; tens of thousands are left sick and sterile because these operations are performed by laypeople.

When performed by medical specialists, pregnancy termination is a routine procedure.

Women with financial means can have safe abortions in Germany and abroad. Women without financial means are forced by Paragraph 218 onto the kitchen tables of quack doctors. It calls them criminals and threatens them with prison sentences of up to five years.

And still, millions of women have abortions—under humiliating and life-threatening circumstances.

I am one of them. — I had an abortion.

I am opposed to Paragraph 218 and in favor of wanted children [Wunschkinder].

We women do not want alms from legislators, nor do we want reform in installments!

We demand the unqualified repeal of Paragraph 218.

We demand comprehensive sex education for everyone and free access to contraceptives!

We demand the right to abortions covered by health insurance!

Source: Appeal: “Wir haben abgetrieben,” form for collecting signatures. Archiv FrauenMediaTurm, Cologne. Signature: FT.02.034. Republished with permission from Archiv FrauenMediaTurm. The appeal was also reprinted in Stern as “Wir haben abgetrieben,” June 6, 1971.

Translation: Allison Brown

Appeal: “Wir haben abgetrieben” (1971)

Source: Appeal: “Wir haben abgetrieben,” form for collecting signatures. Date: 1971. Archiv FrauenMediaTurm, Cologne. Signature: FT.02.034. Link to database record: https://fmt-bildarchiv.faust-web.de/ergebnis_start.fau?prj=fmt-bildarchiv&token=28412d492d4c385d3351305e350f00000000b73ad93017adf3c32d5169d38a7dc80440a09d30d833f3c33af20220601

Republished with permission from Archiv FrauenMediaTurm.

Abortion and Women’s Solidarity (1971), published in: German History in Documents and Images, <https://germanhistorydocs.org/en/two-germanies-1961-1989/ghdi:document-1098> [July 22, 2024].