Cardinal defends German ban on abortion advertising in powerful pro-life homily
Rainer Maria Cardinal Woelki has forcefully defended an advertising ban on abortions in Germany. The ban, while still in effect, has recently been relaxed by the German government.
“We are called not to advertise for killing! We have to advertise for life,” the Archbishop of Cologne stated in a homily on Saturday, December 28, 2019.
At the same time, he criticized a new policy going into effect in 2021. From next year onward, statutory health insurance companies in Germany are required in certain cases to pay for prenatal blood work looking for genetic disorders like down syndrome in the unborn child.
On December 28, the Catholic Church celebrates the feast of the Holy Innocents, going back to the children murdered by King Herod after the birth of Jesus Christ. According to the Gospel of Matthew, Herod had all children under two years of age in Bethlehem and its surroundings murdered, because he felt his power being challenged by Jesus Christ, “the king of the Jews.” Cardinal Woelki dedicated his sermon at the end of last year to pro-life issues.
The archbishop of Cologne referred to a court decision of December 2019, which stated that the advertising ban on abortions, which was relaxed in March 2019, was contradictory. The new law allows “doctors, hospitals and institutions” to make known publicly that they perform abortions, as well as pointing their patients to government-sanctioned informational materials on abortion.
Cardinal Woelki explained that now, “information about terminations of pregnancy is legal, but not information about the methods.”
Woelki pointed out that many people in Germany are not aware any longer that abortion is still illegal in that country. The law, said the archbishop, only allows for certain exceptions. In those cases, having an abortion will not be punished by law.
As a matter of fact, paragraph 219 of the German penal code not only forbids advertising for abortions, but makes it mandatory for a pregnant woman to consult with doctors or counselors before deciding to go forward with an abortion. This consultation, according to that law, has to serve “the protection of unborn life.” Paragraph 219 also states that “the unborn in each stage of the pregnancy has his or her own right to life.”
A further relaxation of the advertising ban on abortions would amount to “a further playing down of practicing terminations of pregnancy,” Cardinal Woelki told the faithful gathered in Cologne Cathedral. He exclaimed, “Advertising for abortions, dear sisters and brothers, is advertising for a statutory offense! And that is criminal!”
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