A leading laywoman and co-president of the German "Synodal Way" has demanded a "nationwide provision of abortion" across the European Union's most populous country.

Irme Stetter-Karp, president of the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), acknowledged that abortion should not be considered a "regular medical service", CNA Deutsch, CNA's German-language news partner, reported.

In comments published by German weekly Die Zeit, the 65-year-old wrote that abortion was "not a regular intervention and should not be treated as such," adding however that the Central Committee of German Catholics advocated for "ethically responsible action on the part of all those involved".

Stetter-Karp continued: "At the same time, a nationwide provision of the medical intervention of abortion must be ensured. This is not the case at present because gynecological care is lacking in rural areas in particular."

The Central Committee of German Catholics is organizer of the controversial "Synodal Way", together with the German Bishops' Conference. As serving president of the lay committee, Stetter-Karp is also co-president of the German process.

Stetter-Karp's comments were sharply criticized by Alexandra Linder, chairwoman of the Federal Association for Life in Germany (Bundesverband Lebensrecht). The association is an organizer of the annual March for Life in Berlin.

In comments to CNA Deutsch, Lindner accused Stetter-Karp of falling for "the false claims of the abortion lobby" and called for better counselling and support for expecting mothers, instead of the provision for abortion.

"The numbers in Germany are not decreasing at all, which can be easily seen in the consistently high abortion rate. Furthermore, due to the lack of mandatory reporting, a larger proportion of abortions are not statistically recorded at all."

The Federal Cabinet of Germany in March abolished the ban on advertising abortions, a move welcomed by the Federation of German Catholic Youth (BDKJ), an umbrella organization of Catholic children's and youth associations.

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The BDKJ also criticized the fact that abortions are not fully accessible throughout Germany. “In some areas of Germany, abortions are no longer accessible,” a spokesperson for the Catholic youth association said. “This puts pregnant women under additional time pressure, making it difficult to decide for or against an abortion.”

Germany currently permits abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, with mandatory counselling at a state-approved center, as well as later abortions in certain circumstances.

The country of 83 million people recorded approximately 100,000 abortions in the pandemic year of 2020.

Following the German federal government’s decision in March, the German bishops‘ conference published a statement expressing cautious criticism of the government’s plans to lift the ban on abortion advertising, CNA Deutsch reported.