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German Cabinet backs compromise in abortion dispute

BERLIN — Germany’s Cabinet has approved legislation that would loosen but not scrap a ban on doctors “advertising” abortions, an attempt to bridge a divide between the country’s governing parties.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s junior governing partners, the centre-left Social Democrats, wanted to remove the ban from Germany’s criminal code. It provides for a fine or a prison sentence of up to two years. But Merkel’s centre-right party insisted it should stay.

Under a compromise reached last week, the ban will formally remain in place but doctors and hospitals will be able to say on their websites that they perform abortions, which they can’t at present. The German Medical Association will establish a central list of doctors and clinics performing abortions.

Merkel’s Cabinet approved the change Wednesday. It still requires parliamentary approval.

The Associated Press