Bonn – On June 26 , 1992, the German parliament voted a new law giving women the right to an abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, by a majority of 357 to 284.

Opposed by Chancellor Kohl’s Christian Democrats and Bavaria’s Christian Social Union, the pro-abortion ranks of the Social Democrats were increased by new deputies from East Germany, where abortion on demand had been the rule under the former Soviet-Marxist regime. Also, some 20-30 CDV members voted against their party’s stand.

Opponents of the new law will seek the signatures of the required one-third of the 662 MPs to refer it to the federal constitutional court. In 1972 that court struck down similar legislation as contrary to the constitutional “right to life.”

If this challenge fails and the new bill is ratified by the Upper House, it will take effect from the beginning of 1993.

(Also see diary for August 4)

No separate compartments

Vatican – In an address to visiting Scandinavian Bishops in March 1992, Pope John-Paul emphasized – as he has done before – that the Christian’s obligation to family and society cannot be separated in different compartments:

“Because of the Gospel commandment to love God and neighbor, it is not possible to separate he life of the individual and society  into areas of moral relevance and irrelevance. From the start, moral responsibilities cannot be dismissed as useless when it is a matter of the dignity of the person in the areas of life in general as well as in education, health, work, economics and help for the most needy and those who are weaker in general. This is most of all to be kept in view in matters concerning further advances in science and technology.”

Indonesia – Hundreds of thousands of Indonesian women are in mortal danger because of a compulsory birth control program that has gone seriously wrong, an expert on that country’ family planning system warned in November 1991.

The problem is the contraceptive device called Norplant, a series of synthetic hormone capsules that, when implanted under the skin of a woman’s arm, provide up to five years’ birth control.

However, if the used-up rubber rod implants are not removed, they create a serious risk of ectopic pregnancy (in the fallopian tubes, rather than the womb), which can lead to sudden death by massive internal hemorrhaging.

Indonesia consumes about two-thirds of the world’s production of Norplant.

On the advice of International Planned Parenthood (IPPF) government agencies implanted them in 500,000 women in 1987 alone.

Inez Smyth or Oxford University’s social studies and social research department says, “There is enormous scope for worry,” about many other aspects of Indonesia’s family planning schemes. These include the systematic intimidation used to make women accept contraception and the indifference shown by authorities to women’s actual health needs and human rights.

Federal health authorities have not yet approved its use in Canada, even though Canadian foreign aid helps pay for Indonesia’s Norplant program. (Source: Ottawa Citizen, November 26, 1991.)

Korea – The Catholic Bishop’s Conference of Korea has condemned a bill before the Korean National Assembly that would legalize abortion in some circumstances. At a July 13, 1992 press conference, the Conference’s president launched a drive for a  petition of one million signatures to oppose the proposals.

The Korean bishops issued a pastoral letter for International Human Rights Day December 8, 1991, that called for creating a new national culture of respect for human life.

Since then they have taken public stands against abortion, euthanasia and the death penalty.

In June the government abandoned its plan to scrap anti-adultery statues in a revised criminal code because of opposition from Church and women’s groups. (Source: B.C. Catholic, July 1992.)