Medical/Health Care

South Korea’s court orders easing of abortion ban

South Korea’s constitutional court has on Thursday ordered the easing of the country’s decades-long ban on abortions in a landmark ruling.

The abortion ban limits women’s rights to pursue their own destinies, and violates their rights to health by limiting their access to safe and timely procedures, the court said in a statement.

It said;Embryos completely depend on the mother’s body for their survival and development, so it cannot be concluded that they are separate, independent living beings entitled to rights to life.

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 unauthorised and often expensive surgeries to end their pregnancies, creating a social stigma.

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It said the current abortion ban will be repealed if the parliament fails to come up with new legislation by then.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 jeopardises her health, or when she or her male partner have certain disease.

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.

Source: Voice of Nigeria