Abortion - Legal Regulations

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Abortion - Legal Regulations
Abortion - Legal Regulations
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Abortion - Legal Regulations

Abortions are regulated by law in Austria with the so-called deadline solution. There are also defined guidelines for abortions among minors. Here you will find an overview of the legal regulations.

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How are abortions regulated by law?

Abortion has been regulated by law in Austria with the so-called time limit solution since 1975. This states that a pregnancy can legally be terminated within the first three months of pregnancy. This means the period before the beginning of the 16th week of pregnancy.

Note The progress of a pregnancy is usually not calculated from the time of actual fertilization, but from the first day of the last menstrual bleeding. If this was 16 weeks ago, the unborn child is around 14 weeks old. In addition, a pregnancy legally only begins with the implantation (approx. On the 7th day).

More on the topic: A pregnancy begins.

In principle, an abortion may only be carried out by a doctor; an appropriate informative discussion must take place beforehand, and the woman must consent to the procedure. However, the woman is not obliged to disclose her personal reasons for the termination.

Under certain conditions, termination of pregnancy is also possible after the first three months have elapsed, namely if

  • there is a serious risk to the health of the woman,
  • a severe mental or physical disability of the child is to be expected,
  • the woman had not yet reached the age of 14 when she became pregnant.

In these cases, one speaks of the existence of an indication for termination.

Note Prenatal diagnostic centers offer comprehensive advice as well as medical and psychological care to clarify indications that may require a late termination of pregnancy.

What is the legal text ?

The impunity of the termination of pregnancy is regulated in the Criminal Code (StGB) of January 29, 1974, § 97, impunity of the termination of pregnancy:

(1) The act is not punishable according to §96

  • if the termination of pregnancy is carried out within the first three months after the beginning of the pregnancy after prior medical advice from a doctor; or
  • if the termination of pregnancy is necessary to avert a serious danger to life that cannot be otherwise avoided or serious damage to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman or if there is a serious risk that the child will be seriously damaged mentally or physically, or the pregnant woman is currently the impregnation was immature and in all of these cases the termination is carried out by a doctor; or
  • if the termination of pregnancy is undertaken in order to save the pregnant woman from an immediate mortal danger that cannot otherwise be averted under circumstances under which medical help cannot be obtained in good time

(2) No doctor is obliged to carry out an abortion or to participate in it, unless the abortion is necessary without delay in order to save the pregnant woman from an imminent, otherwise unavoidable mortal danger. This also applies to those who work in statutory health professions

(3) Nobody may be disadvantaged because of the execution of an abortion without punishment or the participation in it or because of the refusal to carry out such an abortion or to participate in it, in whatever way.

Note The entire legal basis for termination of pregnancy can be found in the Austrian Criminal Code (StGB) §§ 96 to 98.

How are abortions for minors regulated?

Minors between the ages of 14 and not yet 18 are considered to be capable of discernment and judgment and can give consent for an abortion themselves - without the consent of the legal guardian. If the necessary insight and judgment is lacking, the consent of a parent or legal guardian is required.

In the case of abortions in hospitals, the consent of a legal guardian may still be required for young women under the age of 18, according to the respective hospital laws of the federal states.

Before the 14th birthday, the consent of a parent or legal guardian is always required for an abortion.

Note The entire legal basis can be found in the Austrian General Civil Code ABGB, §§ 21 and 141.

additional Information

The respective legal texts can be found under

  • Federal legal information system (RIS): StGB §§ 96 - 98, termination of pregnancy
  • Legal information system of the federal government (RIS): ABGB § 21, personal rights of minors
  • Federal legal information system (RIS): ABGB § 141, capacity to act in matters of parentage

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