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South Korea’s Constitutional Court Overturns Abortion Ban

The East Asian country liberalizes its abortion laws and regulations.

South Korea’s Constitutional Court ruled on Thursday, April 11, that the country’s national abortion ban is unconstitutional. The court said that this ban violates the civil rights and liberties of women’s freedom to choose. The ruling mandated lawmakers in the liberal center-left majority National Assembly to modify current abortion laws and regulation by the end of next year in 2020.

Previously, the Constitutional Court upheld the abortion ban in 2012. Enacted since 1953, the year the Korean War ended, South Korean women who decide to have an abortion can be fined and or imprisoned with the legal and medical exception in cases of rape, incest, or risk to the mother’s personal health. Doctors or medical healthcare professional who perform the contraceptive procedure can also face imprisonment if tried and convicted. The ban was officially reviewed after a legal challenge from a female doctor who was prosecuted for performing almost 70 abortion procedures.

According to a recent April 2019 public opinion poll, 58% of the South Korean public supported abolishing the abortion ban. If the National Assembly officially repeals the ban, South Korea will join other developed countries in Asia that legalized abortion such as Taiwain, Singapore, and Japan.

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