Despite legalization, there is confusion about abortion
SEOUL, Jan 4th (Korea Bizwire) – Legislation that previously banned abortion was declared unconstitutional and effectively repealed at the start of the new year.
However, the lack of legal supplements creates some confusion among women.
The fact that punitive measures against abortion have been repealed is not enough to ensure that hospitals can now offer abortions.
Abortions can be denied to women as hospitals are currently opposed to selective abortion.
The Korean Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology published guidelines last year to only perform unconditional abortions for pregnancies younger than 10 weeks.
The guidelines prohibit abortions for pregnancies longer than 22 weeks, since that is when the fetus becomes viable outside the womb.
These guidelines are stricter than the Justice Department’s revised bill proposed last October that allows unconditional abortion for women younger than 14 weeks of pregnancy and conditional abortion for women between 15 and 24 weeks of pregnancy.
Not all hospitals perform unconditional abortions, even if the woman is less than 10 weeks pregnant. If a doctor refuses an abortion based on their personal beliefs, they may need to see another hospital.
With the lifting of the punitive measures, both surgical and medical abortions are now possible.
Until now, women have bought Mifegyne and other medical abortion drugs through informal channels, such as direct from overseas vendors.
These drugs have yet to be legalized in South Korea as they need to be approved by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.
They are not expected to be available in the country anytime soon as no pharmaceutical companies have applied for a permit to import these drugs at this time.
Without legal amendments to fill the abortion guarantee void, confusion is likely to drag on.
HM Kang ([email protected])