On 8 January 2019, we reported that women’s rights groups in the Gyeongsang provinces condemned a provincial police agency for investigating whether 26 women had had abortions in one maternity hospital. The police obtained information about the 26 women from the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service. Reportedly, a staffperson at the hospital had threatened to report the doctor and asked the doctor for 8 million won (± US$ 7,200) because the doctor had refused … Continued
In South Korea, abortion is the only medical procedure included in the Criminal Code (Article 269 and 270) since 1953. Abortion is only legal if the pregnancy causes the woman serious physical health issues, if the pregnancy is a result of incest/rape, or for ‘eugenic’[sic] reasons. The law requires the consent of (male) spouses even with these grounds. Women can be sentenced to a year in prison or ordered to pay a fine of two … Continued
In 2017, following a petition that garnered a huge number of signatures and demonstrations in support of abortion law reform, a coalition of feminist groups, social movement groups and progressive parties was formed in South Korea, called Joint Action for Reproductive Justice. On 24 May 2018, the coalition held a press conference in front of the Constitutional Court, where the Court was hearing a case brought by a doctor who had been criminally charged … Continued
South Korean law criminalises abortion with only a few exceptions, such as when pregnancy results from rape or endangers the woman’s life. The Constitutional Court is due to review the abortion law this month. It was this same court that defended the anti-abortion law in 2012 when it ruled that: “Pregnant women’s self-determination should not overrule the fetus’ right to life.” However, since then, there were demonstrations inspired by the strikes in Poland in 2017 … Continued
In September this year, a petition on a government website called on President Moon Jae-in to amend the abortion law and approve the sale of mifepristone. The government has promised to respond to any petition that gains more than 200,000 signatures in a month. This petition got 235,000 signatories. A recent survey of 516 adults found that 51.9% supported the petition. The NGO Womenlink said they were “stunned by the fervour” of those who signed. … Continued
On 12 October, feminist groups held a press conference in front of the Central Government Complex in Seoul. On 15 October, hundreds of people dressed in black held a rally to demand decriminalization of abortion, inspired by the recent “black protest” in Poland. The abortion debate ignited by the government’s proposed penalties had sparked a campaign for decriminalisation of abortion and women’s right to self-determination.