Böhmer, the conservative premier of the eastern German state of Saxony-Anhalt, has publicly apologized for the heavily criticized remarks he made blaming recent baby killings on lingering values from East Germany’s communist past. But his apology was only to women he may have offended, not for his opinion.
“I would like to apologize to the women and mothers from the former German Democratic Republic (GDR) to whom my comments don’t apply,” said Böhmer during a debate in Parliament on Thursday. “They didn’t deserve that.”
Böhmer said that outrage over his comments, published on Sunday in weekly news magazine Focus, is a sign that in this region of Germany ethics are not neglected. But Böhmer also said that the threshold of inhibition toward infanticide during the East German Communist era was lower than it has ever been. He said there were different causes for this, citing GDR abortion rules.
Böhmer, who was a gynaecologist in the GDR before he went into politics, went on to say that during GDR times, some women would intentionally conceal a pregnancy and avoid seeking prenatal care in anticipation of killing their baby.
There have been several cases of baby killings in recent years in the former communist east.