South Korea’s constitutional court has ordered for the easing of the country’s deceased long ban on abortions this Thursday, in a landmark ruling.
“Embryos completely depend on the mother’s body for their survival” the court said in a statement “and development, so it cannot be concluded that they are separate, independent living beings entitled to rights to life.”
Abortions in South Korea have been illegal and bans since 1953, although, convictions for committing one has been rare.
Still, illegality of abortions force women to take on expensive, unauthorized surgeries to end the pregnancies causing a social stigma.
The easing of the ban could open up 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 the pregnancy jeopardizes the woman’s health or when there is a certain diseased involved between the couple.
Punishments are 1 year for the woman who had the abortion and 2 years for the doctor performing the abortion.
The public is on a split opinion on the law. Though, there have been no consensus on how many abortions occur a year in South Korea.
15 Pro-women rights activists shouted “Abolish the anti-abortion law” near the court entrance on Thursday. While more that 20 pro-life activist held placards carrying images of fetuses and messages saying “Who can speak for me” and “Don’t kill me, please.”