KARLSRUHE : Abortion Decision

Germany's highest court is expected to hand down a decision Friday on a new abortion law being challenged by conservatives who argue that it violates the constitutional rights of the unborn.

The Constitutional Court will decide whether or not last June's abortion reform can go into effect. The law, passed after an exhausting and highly emotional debate by legislators in the Bundestag, lifts most restrictions on abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Before unification, West Germany considered abortion a crime unless doctors certified that the woman's physical or mental health was in jeopardy. In contrast, Communist East Germany offered women free abortions on demand.

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