South Korea’s outright abortion ban is expected to be abolished, 66 years after related laws were enacted in 1953.
In a seven-to-two vote, the Constitutional Court on April 11 decided an outright ban on abortion goes against the Constitution, as it prioritizes protecting the life of a fetus while infringing on a woman's right to make her own choice.
In 2017, an obstetrician filed a complaint after he was charged in 2013 for performing an abortion with a woman's consent. The doctor argued Article 270 of the Criminal Code, which states that a physician shall be imprisoned for up to two years for conducting an abortion, infringes upon the woman's right to choose. Under Article 269 of the Criminal Code, a woman who aborts an unborn fetus is subject to a prison term of up to one year or two-million-won fine.
The Constitutional Court’s decision has taken into account the fact that illegal abortions openly take place despite the ban and the discrepancy regarding current laws that allow women under special circumstances to abort the fetus under 24 weeks of pregnancy.
The Court has called for amendments by December 31, 2020 to partially allow abortions in the early stage of pregnancy.
Photo : KBS News