Moralizing Embryo Politics in Germany
Untertitel: Between Christian Inspired Values and Historical Constrains
AutorInnen: Weiberg-Salzmann, Mirjam; Willems, Ulrich Publikationsjahr: 2020
For historical reasons, political debates in Germany tend to stress the separation between religion and politics. At the same time, the church is a well-respected social player and through various institutions interwoven with the state. Concerning the debate on the regulation of biopolitics, religion has played an important role, either through direct interventions by the churches or more indirectly through the religious beliefs of politicians. Germany has passed laws that strongly regulate or prohibit biotechnological procedures. The most important legal result of the debate on human biotechnologies was the Embryo Protection Act (ESchG) in 1990. In the discussion, which was conducted widely in the media and accompanied by public interviews and hearings, the Protestant Church (EKD) and the Catholic Church, deaconries, and associations for the disabled actively intervened and mostly held restrictive positions. Church representatives were also on the official advisory boards. The main topics were freedom of research versus protection of human dignity and historical reservations (National Socialism period/eugenics). Despite some liberalizations (e.g., postponement of the deadline), the law remained restrictive and is today regarded by many actors as in need of revision for various reasons.