Gender and attitudes towards abortion in Germany. An analysis of the influence

Scientific Essay, 2021

12 Pages, Grade: 1,3



Table of contents

1 Introduction

2 Methodology
2.1 Data
2.2 Measurement and Analysis

3 Results

4 Conclusion

5 Bibliography

List of figures

Figure 1: The selection of municipalities in two steps

Figure 2: Gender differences in attitudes towards abortion in Germany

List of tables

Table 1: Univariate distribution of the dependent and independent variables

Table 2: Results of attitudes towards abortion in reference to women and men

1. Introduction

a. Research problem

Abortion is a difficult and therefore widely discussed moral issue, which is characterized by the fact that different value concepts meet and seem to elude any scientific discourse. The origin of the discussions about the regulation of abortion goes back a long way and yet it flares up again and again. A few months ago, for example, Poland tightened its already strict abortion law even further, declaring abortions unconstitutional due to the possibility of severe malformations of the unborn child (Pallokat, 2020). Overseas, fears of similar measures are growing because of the appointment of pro-abortion opponent Amy Coney Barrett as a Supreme Court judge (Baker, 2020). Germany, on the other hand, seems to be taking slow but steady steps in the opposite direction. In early 2019, the German Bundestag voted in favor of a new version of Section 219a of the German Penal Code, thus contributing in part to improving information on abortion (Entwurf Eines Gesetzes Zur Verbesserung Der Information Über Einen Schwangerschaftsabbruch, 2019). Originally, paragraph 219a forbade physicians from publicly informing doctors of their "pecuniary advantage because of or in a grossly offensive manner" about the termination of pregnancy. Anyone who "offers, announces, advertises, promotes or provides public statements of such content" ((§219a I 1 StGB) was liable to a fine or even imprisonment for up to two years.1 This regulation not only criminalized physicians quasi unintentionally, but also made it more difficult for those affected to access help. The debate about a change in the "ban on information", was triggered by the case of the physician Kristina Hänel. She was sentenced to a fine in 2017 because she listed the word "abortion" under the heading "spectrum" on her website (Fritzsche et al., 2018). Following the ensuing public debate, the responsible ministers spent several months preparing a new draft law to supplement the advertising ban. According to the bill, medical practices and hospitals will in future be allowed to advertise that they perform abortions. However, they are still not allowed to inform about which abortion methods they offer (Entwurf Eines Gesetzes Zur Verbesserung Der Information Über Einen Schwangerschaftsabbruch, 2019).

Even though the German Bundestag voted on 21 February 2019 for the new version of paragraph 219a of the German Penal Code, the parties DIE LINKE, die Grünen and FDP are calling for the paragraph to be deleted without replacement and up until now, there is a call for a continuation of the discourse (Deutscher Bundestag, 2019).

b. Research objectives and research question

Against this background, the question arises whether variables, such as gender, influence the attitude towards abortion. The addressed discourse on abortion is often dominated by women. But even if they are directly affected by the issue, because they are carrying out the pregnancy, it is clear that men cannot be left out of the debate. Without them, there will be no new regulations, regardless of the direction, regarding abortion. Based on the assumption that the current arrangements, which are made by male-dominated politics (Bukow & Voß, 2018), tend to neglect women's rights (as can be seen from the current developments in Poland), it is presumed that men have a more negative attitude towards abortion than women. In order to answer the question “To what extent – if so – are women in Germany more positive about abortion than men?”, the following hypothesis (𝐻1) is made: Women in Germany have a more positive attitude towards abortion than men. The testing of the hypothesis and the response to such a question could help to explain, why legal regulations, such as paragraph 219a of the German Penal Code, are not completely abolished in a male-dominated policy, but merely adapted and reformulated.

2. Methodology

In the following sections the selection and structure of the data and their collection will be discussed first (2.1 Data). Based on this, it is explained how the dependent and independent variables were selected and how the analysis was carried out. In this context, it is also briefly discussed, why the analysis in R uses a module for complex sample analyses (2.2 Measurement and Analysis).

2.1 Data

In order to answer the above question, data from the German General Social Survey (ALLBUS) was selected. Since 1980, the ALLBUS program has collected a random sample of the Federal Republic of Germany every two years. The main focus of this survey is to gather information on attitudes, behavior and sociostructural characteristics of the population in Germany. For reasons of topicality, data from the year 2018 were selected for this analysis. This sample is not based on Simple Random Sampling (SRS). Such a sampling from the total population of Germany would not be feasible from a practical point of view, since there is no central register of all inhabitants which could serve as a basis for the drawing. Therefore, a complex sample design based on a two-stage, disproportionately stratified random selection in West and East Germany is used.

The data was generated with Computer Assisted Personal Interviews (CAPI) and two Computer Assisted Self Interviews (CASI) within the ISSP (split procedure). Thereby the interviewers had to provide various information about the interview process. These include among other things the beginning and end time of the interviews, the number of the necessary contact attempts and different data to the interview situation.

a. The basic population

Since 1991 the population of the ALLBUS consists of all persons living in private households in the Federal Republic of Germany. To be part of the population, the inhabitants had to be born before 01.01.1996 (therefore they must have reached a minimum age of 18 years). The nationality does not play a role here. Because the persons in the individual municipalities were selected in the second step of the drawing procedure with the help of the population register, it should be noted that the population is limited to registered persons (1st residence).


1 This citation can still be found in paragraph 219a of the German Penal Code. However, a fourth paragraph has now been added.

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Gender and attitudes towards abortion in Germany. An analysis of the influence
Zeppelin University Friedrichshafen
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