South Korea: the decision that benefits abortion

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In a historic decision, the Constitutional Court of South Korea ordered the amendment of the abortion law

South Korea: the decision that benefits abortion

Last Thursday, the Constitutional Court of the Asian country ruled unconstitutional the prohibition of abortion in that country. In this way, the institution ordered to amend the law of 1953 and which "represses the interruption of pregnancy", according to La Nación.

Leer en español: Corea del Sur: el fallo que beneficia el aborto

In addition, the law provides that the prohibition cannot be carried out in specific cases such as incest, rape, serious hereditary disorders and/or when the health of the mother is at risk. Otherwise, women who have an abortion have to pay a year in jail plus a fine of approximately $ 1,756. According to El Clarín, "the doctors who perform the practice can be sentenced for up to two years in prison and can be suspended for up to seven years".

With seven votes in favor and two against, the Court ordered the revision of the law of protection of life and traditional values and gave the final date of 2020 for its revision. Among the main arguments of the institution is the fact that the current norm restricts the rights of women and if it is not reviewed in depth, "it will proceed to revoke it", according to France24.

In this way, the decision ruled that "the law that criminalizes a woman who undergoes an abortion of her own will go beyond the minimum necessary to achieve the legislative purpose and limits the right of self-determination of women."

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The case

The review of the case occurred when in 2017 a doctor presented the case, alleging that in 2013 she had been prosecuted for performing 69 abortions. According to The Korean Herald, the woman "filed a petition arguing that the prohibition of abortion violates a woman's right to happiness. "In the same way, women who practice abortions are usually of limited resources, so they are exposed to poor sanitary conditions, exposing themselves to diseases and even death.

Who comes to Korea

Although the law has not been revised as such, and therefore the changes have not been announced, it is important to remember that one of the first things that must be agreed upon is the number of weeks of pregnancy during which women may have abortions.

Meanwhile, as a guide, four of seven judges "pointed out that all abortions should be legalized within 14 weeks of pregnancy without any restrictions and by women's own decisions," according to The Korean Herald.

However, for the activists it is not enough to modify the law and the agreement of the weeks; but there must also be processes and/or clear information on safe abortions, along with psychological counseling on how to end the pregnancy, something key to women's health rights.

In a society as conservative as South Korea, the news surprised, because this decision is an advance against women's rights, taking into account that, despite being within the most developed countries in the world, presents high rates of gender inequity. With the revision of this law, it would be helping more than 500,000 women, figures that were collected by Asia Times and are high compared to the population living in the Asian country: 51 million, to safely abort.


LatinAmerican Post | Laura Viviana Guevara Muñoz

Translated from "Corea del Sur: el fallo que beneficia el aborto"