SOUTH KOREA – A critical assessment of abortion law and its implementation in South Korea

by Hyosin Kim, Hyun-A Bae

Asian Journal of Women’s Studies 2018;24(1):71-87.

DOI:  (not open access)


Abortion is generally prohibited by law in South Korea, except for induced terminations administered within 24 weeks of pregnancy because of medical, genetic, and ethical reasons. This study provides a historical background of the development of abortion law in Korea and discusses specific provisions regulating the procedure and prenatal sex testing under the Criminal Act, Mother and Child Law, and Medical Services Act. Through a critical review of current laws, this paper attempts to explain the legal, social, and cultural factors underlying the discrepancy between restrictive laws and enforcement of the regulation. The current laws need to be amended to reflect changes in medical knowledge and contemporary social values and to protect women’s human rights and health.

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