A historic decision by the West German Constitutional Court (Bundesverfass- sungsgerecht) linked the anti-life mentality with that of the Nazi regime.

The Court ruled as unconstitutional an amendment to the penal code which would have permitted abortion on demand within the first twelve weeks of life, and pronounced on the Government’s duty to protect the life of unborn children.

In its judgement the court stated:

“The Constitution protects life being developed in the mother’s womb as an independent legal entity. The express inclusion of the right to life in the Constitution –

otherwise self-evident-in contrast, for example, to (former) Constitutions, is to be explained primarily as a reaction to the ‘destruction of life that is not worthy of living’, to the ‘final solution’ and to ‘liquidations’ carried out by the National Socialist regime as government measures.”

Although the court’s ruling applied only from the time of implantation (rather than from the scientifically proven point of conception), it nonetheless made it clear that it was untenable to justify abortion on the grounds that fetal life was only “developing life”.

“Development”, declared the judgement… is a continuous process… (and)… is not finished with birth: for example, the specific forms of consciousness characterizing human personality make their first appearance some time after birth. For this reason, the protection … of the Constitution can neither be limited to the ‘finished’ human being after birth nor to the nasciturus independently capable of life. The right to life is attributed to everyone who “lives”…

The judges also declared: ” Where human life exists, it possesses human dignity. It is not determinative whether the bearer of this dignity is conscious of it and knows how to preserve it himself. The potential abilities placed within the human being from the beginning suffice to establish human dignity.” The court ruling was made in Feb. 1975.