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Geburtshilfe Frauenheilkd. 1980 Feb;40(2):142-4.

[Questions of bio-ethics in the termination of pregnancy in the second and third trimester of pregnancy for eugenic indications (author's transl)].

[Article in German]


According to the paragraph 218 B of the Criminal Code termination of pregnancy for eugenic indications is prohibited. Since it is today possible to diagnose anencephaly at 30 weeks an ethical dilemma arises. The hypothesis is founded that an anencephalic is clinically a dead entity with continuing functions of live corresponding to clinical death following an accident when essential parts of the brain have been lost. If this thesis is accepted a pregnancy can be terminated immediately following diagnosis of anencephaly without using the questionable medical psychiatric indication for termination.


Paragraph 218B of the German Criminal Code allows induced abortion under eugenic indications. Anencephaly is legally considered a criterion for defining death. This condition can be diagnosed in a pregnancy after the 30th week. If anencephaly can be diagnosed in X-ray and ultrasonic scan, with below normal estriol values and elevated alpha-fetoprotein levels, the indications for a eugenic abortion are fulfilled if the mother gives her informed consent.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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