Germany to Require Three-Day Wait for Late Term Abortions

By Hilary White

BERLIN, May 15, 2009 ( - The German parliament has voted to require a three-day waiting period before doctors authorize abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy.

The measure includes providing for more consultations and support for families with handicapped children who are considering abortion, the news service Deutsche Welle reported today.

The law will require women to receive counseling from a doctor about the medical and psychological consequences of a late-term abortion. Patients living with physically or mentally disabled children will be offered other means of support.

In a vote of 612 parliamentarians, 326 delegates voted in favor of the measure, 234 voted against and 52 abstained. The law, set to come into effect in January 2010, will levy a fine of €10,000 for doctors who fail to comply.

Abortion in Germany is legal in the first trimester of pregnancy, after the woman has received a certificate showing that she has received "counseling." Abortion is also permitted in certain cases after the first trimester.

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