Wednesday September 23rd, 2020 9:57AM

South Korean court orders easing of abortion ban

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — In a major reversal, South Korea's Constitutional Court on Thursday ordered the easing of the country's decades-long ban on abortions, one of the strictest in the developed world.

Abortions have been largely illegal in South Korea since 1953, though convictions for violating the ban are rare. Still, the illegality of abortions forces women to seek out unauthorized and often expensive surgeries to end their pregnancies, creating a social stigma that makes them feel like criminals.

The court's nine-justice panel said that the parliament must map out legislation to ease the current anti-abortion regulations by the end of 2020. It said the current abortion ban will be repealed if the parliament fails to come up with new legislation by then.

An easing of the ban could open up the door to more abortions for social and economic reasons. Current exceptions to the law only allow abortions when a woman is pregnant through rape or incest, or when a pregnancy seriously jeopardizes her health, or when she or her male partner has certain diseases.

A woman in South Korea can now be punished with up to one year in prison for having an abortion, and a doctor can get up to two years in prison for performing an abortion.

Most other countries in the 36-member Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the so-called most developed countries, allow abortions for broad social and economic reasons. South Korea is one of only five OECD member states that don't allow such abortions, according to the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family.

Thursday's verdict was a response to an appeal filed in February 2017 by an obstetrician charged with carrying out about 70 unauthorized abortions from 2013-2017 at the request or approval of pregnant women.

The South Korean public has been sharply split over on the abortion ban. There has been a series of heated panel discussions on TV and internet programs; activists, both for and against, have for months stood with placards near the court.

About 15 pro-women's rights activists shouted "Abolish the anti-abortion law" near the court's entrance earlier Thursday. More than 20 pro-life activists held placards carrying images of fetuses and message like "Who can speak for me?" and "Don't kill me, please."

It's not clear exactly how many abortions take places in South Korea. In a recent survey of 10,000 women aged between 15 and 44, about 7.6%, or 756 respondents, said they had undergone an abortion. They mostly cited worries about difficulty in continuing their studies and jobs, economic problems and a desire to wait, according to the survey conducted by the state-run Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Health, AP World News, AP Business, AP Health - Women's health, AP Business - Economy
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
The Latest: Trump says EU being 'tough' on UK over Brexit
U.S. President Donald Trump has complained that the European Union is treating Britain unfairly over Brexit.
3:31AM ( 1 minute ago )
South Korean court orders easing of abortion ban
In a major reversal, South Korea's Constitutional Court has ordered the easing of a decades-long ban on abortions, one of the strictest in the developed world
3:24AM ( 8 minutes ago )
The Latest: Ex-UK Treasury chief calls for cross-party unity
Conservative Party legislator Ken Clarke says he does not believe Prime Minister Theresa May will be able to convince the party to back her Brexit withdrawal deal.
3:19AM ( 13 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
New Zealand's new gun laws get final assent to take effect
New Zealand's governor general has signed into effect sweeping gun laws outlawing military style weapons weeks after a man used such guns to kill 50 people at mosques in Christchurch
2:31AM ( 1 hour ago )
Trick or treat? EU, UK agree to delay Brexit until Halloween
European Union leaders, Britain agree to a Brexit extension that will allow the U.K. to delay its EU departure date until Halloween
2:16AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: EU, UK agree to delay Brexit until Halloween
British Prime Minister Theresa May says the European Union has granted her "key request" to add an early exit clause to its agreement to a six-month Brexit extension
1:59AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Barr says 'I think spying did occur' against Trump campaign
Attorney General William Barr declared Wednesday he thinks "spying did occur" against Donald Trump's presidential campaign
11:39PM ( 3 hours ago )
New Zealand Parliament passes sweeping gun restrictions
New Zealand's Parliament has passed sweeping gun laws less than a month after killings of 50 at two mosques
10:43PM ( 4 hours ago )
Bill banning abortions after heartbeat sent to Ohio governor
No topic seemed off limits as abortion-rights supporters in Ohio fought the latest _ and perhaps last _ battle over a twice-vetoed heartbeat abortion ban, which appears poised this time to be signed into law.
9:19PM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Lawyer: Challenge to NYC's vaccination order in the works
New York City's effort to halt a measles outbreak by ordering mandatory vaccinations in one Brooklyn neighborhood is facing opposition
6:59PM ( 8 hours ago )
Principal who went into coma after bone marrow donation dies
A New Jersey high school principal who went into a coma after he donated bone marrow to a 14-year-old stranger in France has died
5:04PM ( 10 hours ago )
Sanders relaunches 'Medicare for All' with Dems divided
Sanders relaunches 'Medicare for All' plans amid divisions among Democrats
4:34PM ( 10 hours ago )
AP Health
The Latest: Scotland's Sturgeon voices 'relief' at extension
Scotland's first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has voiced her "relief" that there won't be a 'no-deal' Brexit this Friday after Britain was granted an extension to Oct. 31 to leave the European Union.
2:42AM ( 50 minutes ago )
Asian shares fall as Fed minutes show data may tweak stance
Asian shares retreat as some Fed officials suggest data may tweak stance
2:39AM ( 53 minutes ago )
The Latest: UK business says Brexit extension averts crisis
One of Britain's leading business lobby groups says the Brexit extension granted to the country at a summit in Brussels overnight means an "imminent economic crisis" has been averted.
2:31AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
UN population fund chief laments US funding cut
The head the U.N. population agency says she regrets the U.S. government's decision to cut funding for programs that help ensure safe pregnancies worldwide
10:27AM ( 17 hours ago )
Court upholds Kentucky's abortion law requiring ultrasounds
A divided federal appeals court says a Kentucky law requiring doctors to perform ultrasounds and show fetal images to patients prior to abortions is constitutional
6:40PM ( 6 days ago )
GOP tries to push vote on bill on babies surviving abortions
Republicans are starting a long-shot drive to force a House vote on a measure that would imprison doctors for five years if they don't try saving the lives of infants born during abortions
6:07PM ( 1 week ago )
AP Health - Women's health
Castro warns Cubans to brace for shortages
Communist Party leader Raúl Castro is warning Cubans to brace for shortages and other economic problems due to Trump administration policies, but says the island won't repeat the extreme deprivation of the post-Soviet period
7:41PM ( 7 hours ago )
Pence says US wants Maduro out and 'all options' on table
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence told the Security Council the Trump administration is determined to remove President Nicolás Maduro from power, preferably through diplomatic and economic pressure, but "all options are on the table"
7:21PM ( 8 hours ago )
Australian prime minister expected to call May 18 election
Australia's prime minister has visited the nation's governor-general to call an election expected to be held on May 18.
6:27PM ( 9 hours ago )
AP Business - Economy
The Latest: Ex-UK Treasury chief calls for cross-party unity
Conservative Party legislator Ken Clarke says he does not believe Prime Minister Theresa May will be able to convince the party to back her Brexit withdrawal deal.
3:19AM ( 13 minutes ago )
Thousands expected at Nipsey Hussle's Los Angeles memorial
Rapper Nipsey Hussle will be mourned at a public service expected to draw thousands to the Staples Center in Los Angeles
3:18AM ( 14 minutes ago )
India votes in 1st phase of long polls seen as test for Modi
Polls have opened in the first phase of India's general elections in which 900 million people are eligible to vote in the world's largest democratic exercise
2:52AM ( 40 minutes ago )
Sudanese army to deliver 'important statement' amid protests
Sudan state TV says country's military to deliver 'important' statement, raising expectations of president stepping down
2:52AM ( 40 minutes ago )
LEADING OFF: Eovaldi, Red Sox in funk, Cards try to sweep LA
LEADING OFF: Eovaldi and Red Sox in funk, Cards try to sweep LA, Mets and Braves square off, Puig back from suspension, Rockies get outta town
2:49AM ( 42 minutes ago )