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Citizens for Justice and Peace

South Korean court says ban on abortion is unconstitutional

12, Apr 2019 | CJP Team

On Thursday, April 11, South Korea’s Constitutional Court ruled that the country’s ban on abortion is unconstitutional, and that the law must be changed by the end of 2020, BBC News reported. Abortion was banned in South Korea in 1953, and, per the law, women who undergo abortions can be subject to fines and imprisonment, except in cases of incest, rape, and health risks. Doctors who perform abortions could also be imprisoned. The law was reviewed after a female doctor, who was tried for performing nearly 70 abortions, filed a challenge. She said that it put women at risk, and restricted their rights. Per BBC News, “abortions are widely accessible in South Korea and can be carried out safely.” Women who undergo abortions are rarely taken to court. However, activists say that the ban risks their health, and causes social stigma. Per the AFP, a 2018 survey found that one in five pregnant women in the country underwent an abortion, with only 1% of these in cases where the procedure is legally permissible. In 2017, an estimated 50,000 abortions were performed in South Korea, compared to government estimates of around 169,000 abortions in 2010. BBC News stated that the decline is due to an improved understand of birth control, as well as better contraceptive options.

 

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