German coalition tries to resolve dispute over abortion law

German coalition tries to resolve dispute over abortion law
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right in the red jacket, answers questions of lawmakers during a parliament session of the Bundestag in Berlin, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber) (Markus Schreiber)

BERLIN (AP) — Germany's governing coalition is trying to resolve a long-running dispute over a ban on doctors advertising abortions.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's junior governing partners, the center-left Social Democrats, want 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 center-right party insists it should stay.

Leading ministers on Wednesday hammered out a proposed compromise under which the advertising ban would remain, but the law would be reformed to state more clearly how doctors and hospitals can inform potential patients that they carry out abortions.

That plan will now go to lawmakers. Ralph Brinkhaus, the parliamentary leader of Merkel's bloc, said Thursday that it was "a first step" and the parliamentary group will consider detailed proposals in January.