To date, no German bishop has publicly commented.
The Central Committee of German Catholics' president, Thomas Sternberg - another CDU politician - told CNA Deutsch June 22 that he was "in complete agreement" with Flachsbarth, and that, in fact, they reject abortion, despite Flachsbarth's support for the SheDecides initiative and for Planned Parenthood.
He said: "From my point of view, this debate makes it clear how far away we are from the general conviction and view that abortion is about killing people. The way it is discussed as a purely women's rights issue is a sad sign of a lack of awareness of the value of unborn life."
Sternberg, who in 2018 spoke out against a proposed relaxation of Germany's abortion laws, said there is "no contradiction" between his position and Flachsbarth's.
"The ZdK has always vehemently stood up for the protection of life. In Germany we have a legal regulation according to which abortion without medical or criminological indication is illegal. But we also know that we can only protect the life of the unborn children together with an unintentionally pregnant mother or a mother in distress and not against her," Sternberg said
To protect life, he said, it is necessary to offer "encouragement for responsible parenthood" and concrete help, he added.
Under a 1995 law, women seeking an abortion in Germany must seek counseling, after which can they receive a certificate enabling them to obtain an abortion up to the 12th week of pregnancy.
In 1999, the Vatican ordered the German bishops to withdraw from the state counselling system over concerns that it compromised the Catholic Church's unequivocal opposition to abortion. At the time, the Church ran more than 200 of the country's 1,600 pregnancy counseling centres.
Sternberg told CNA Deutsch that the counseling regulation provided "protection" for unborn life.
He emphasized that both he and his predecessors had supported this regulation "even in the face of a strong social and political headwind," "because we want to prevent abortions and can prevent them in many cases."
He said: "At the same time we know that unfortunately abortion cannot be prevented in every crisis pregnancy case -- Maria Flachsbarth speaks of this when she says that abortion can be a 'last, terrible way out' for a woman in individual cases. However, it is absolutely clear to us that abortion is not one of the means of family planning."
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Through education and information, he said, "women must be empowered to be able to decide on the number of children they will have and also on their future life."
SheDecides was founded by Dutch politician Lilianne Ploumen in response to President Donald Trump's 2017 decision to reinstate the Mexico City policy. Under that policy, foreign non-governmental organizations may not receive U.S. federal funding if they perform or promote abortions as a method of family planning.
SheDecides has won support from at least 60 countries, as well as dozens of NGOs. Within six months the initiative received pledges worth $300 million.