Abortion Is Legal in Korea
In April 2019, seven of the nine judges of The Korean Constitutional Court ruled that the criminalization of abortion was unconstitutional, giving South Korea`s National Assembly until the end of the year to revise abortion laws. In October 2020, it was announced that a bill to decriminalize abortion by the 14th week of pregnancy would be drafted. Abortion for pregnancies resulting from rape would be allowed between the 15th and 24th week. In January 2021, the necessary legislative measures were passed to declare the criminalization of abortion unconstitutional and previous laws were repealed. According to the Ministry of Health, 30 of the 1,000 Korean women between the ages of 15 and 44 had abortions in 2005, making South Korea the top three countries in the world for abortions per capita, behind Russia and Vietnam. “However, since the first decade of the new century, the country`s low birth rate has become a serious social problem, with the abortion ban being used as a tool to prevent women from having abortions as the government has stepped up law enforcement,” she said. And they warn that while sanctions for illegal abortions have been rare over the past decade, authorities can now decide to take action against procedures that take place after the 14-week period expires. (March 18, 2021) Abortion was decriminalized in South Korea with effect from January 1, 2021, when the provisions of Law No. 293, the penal code that criminalized abortion. (Criminal Law, Law No. 293, 18 September 1953, art.
269-270, as amended by Law No. 5057 of 29 December 1995.) Activists march through central Seoul to urge the National Assembly to introduce new abortion laws on April 10. [JOONGANG ILBO] Abortion rights activists celebrate the Constitutional Court`s decision on April 11, 2019 at the gates of the central Seoul courthouse. The Constitutional Court declared Law 269 of the current Penal Code, also known as the Abortion Law, unconstitutional for the first time in 66 years. [YONHAP] Traditionally, South Korean couples preferred sons to daughters because they could continue to use the surname and therefore continue to have children until they had a boy. The new policy, combined with banning abortion, left them with fewer legal options. In 2009, lawmakers took a small step toward a crackdown on abortion in South Korea by “removing certain diseases from the list justified by the use of legal abortions and changing the time limit for legal abortions to twenty-four weeks from conception to twenty-eight weeks.”  “Conscientious objection” should not be allowed to restrict access to abortion care. IpPF and its affiliates will continue to fight for safe and legal abortion care for those in need. The Maternal and Child Health Act, passed in 1973, establishes five special circumstances in which abortion is permitted by law.  The five circumstances are as follows: Under the new proposal, abortion would be prohibited after 14 weeks, except in the case of a sexual crime, or if the mother`s health is at risk, or if the fetus shows signs of severe birth defects, in which case abortion would be allowed for up to 24 weeks, the Justice Department said in a statement. The International Planned Parenthood Federation welcomes the news of the removal of abortion care from the South Korean penal code effective January 1, 2021.
This means those seeking abortion care. The issue of abortion has never been addressed as a human rights issue in South Korea. The National Human Rights Commission (TNHRC), a national human rights group since its establishment in 2002, noted that the issue of abortion was a “controversial issue in the `Right to Life` section of its 2007 National Plan of Action”.  In 2017, more than 235,000 people signed a petition to legalize abortion. In response, the government promised better sex education, more support for single mothers, and research on the issue. SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea on Wednesday proposed to allow abortion until the fourteenth week of pregnancy as part of a new law designed to comply with a landmark Constitutional Court ruling that overturned a decades-long ban. “Abortion care is a human right, and these rights are now being realized in countries with some of the strictest abortion laws. The decision to remove abortion from South Korea`s penal code is a step in the right direction for women`s rights, but we also know that much remains to be done. After a thorough examination of the rights of pregnant women, the duty of the State, the life of the foetus, the effectiveness of the provisions of the Penal Code and other relevant issues, the Constitutional Court noted that “taking into account the importance and nature of a pregnant woman`s right to self-determination”.
The State must guarantee this right by giving the pregnant woman sufficient time to make and carry out a holistic decision regarding pregnancy. (2017Hun-Ba127, p. 18.) It considered that the time limit for such a decision would not extend beyond the 22nd week of pregnancy. The Court called on the state to optimize the human rights of pregnant women and fetuses “in accordance with the principle of practical concordance,” rather than comparing the two in the abstract and abandoning one for the sake of the other. (S. 20.) The court concluded that Article 269(1) of the Penal Code “restricts a pregnant woman`s right to self-determination to an extent that is necessary to achieve her legislative purpose” and “violates the rule against excessive restrictions and a pregnant woman`s right to self-determination” in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Korea (29 October). 1987). (2017Hun-Ba127, p.
25.) Article 10 of the Constitution guarantees citizens “human worth and dignity” and “the right to seek happiness”. In addition, the court ruled that while it is unconstitutional to punish a pregnant woman who procures her own abortion, it is unconstitutional to criminally punish a doctor who performs an abortion at the request or with the consent of a pregnant woman. (S. 26.) Although abortion has been decriminalized, there is still a long way to go before safe abortions can be performed at the national level. The information available on safe abortion practices is limited and the lack of regulation is a barrier for those trying to access safe abortions. If a doctor is involved in an abortion, the doctor`s license is suspended for a maximum of seven years.  The decriminalization of abortion is the result of a constitutional court decision of April 11, 2019. (2017Hun-Ba127 (Const. Ct., 11 Apr. 2019) In the case before the Constitutional Court, a doctor who had performed an abortion was charged with the crime of “abortion by the medical profession with the consent of the woman”. (Penal Code art.
270 para. 1 in the currently valid version.) While her case was still pending before the Court of First Instance, she filed a petition to ask the Court of First Instance to refer the case to the Constitutional Court to verify the constitutionality of the provisions of the Penal Code that criminalize abortion. In many countries, this would be a simple medical procedure performed with the support of the health system. But in South Korea, Kim had only the option of an illegal operation. Representatives of the People`s Power Party will hold a conference on the abortion law on June 14 entitled “Rethinking a Healthy Female Life,” which focuses on the fetus` rights to life. [NEWS1] In October 2020, the government announced a bill that would decriminalize abortion until the 14th week of pregnancy. In addition, abortions between the ages of 14 and 24 would be performed. week allowed if the pregnancy is due to rape or for social, economic or health reasons.     The members of the National Assembly also proposed revisions. However, the National Assembly did not vote on the revisions before the December 31, 2020 deadline. At that time, articles 269 and 270 of the Penal Code became null and void.
 Obstetricians later proved to be a powerful voice for anti-abortion sentiment in Korea as a product of ethical and moral concerns.  She stated that many doctors who performed illegal abortions were not properly trained and that the surgical methods they used had not been updated for years because the law itself was illegal. Conservative and religious groups have questioned the court`s decision and the government`s planned legislative changes on the grounds that all life is sacred and should be protected. South Korea`s 66-year-old abortion ban must be lifted by the end of 2020, the country`s Constitutional Court ruled Thursday, a major victory for advocates of choice.