Korea’s Constitutional Court Rules Abortion Ban Must Be Overturned By 2020
South Korea will be overturning its ban on abortion.
On April 11, the Constitutional Court ruled that the current law on abortion is unconstitutional. It currently bans abortions in the early stages of pregnancy and requires punishment for violation. Current exceptions to the law only allow abortions in cases of rape or incest, when a pregnancy seriously jeopardizes the woman’s health, or when she or her partner have certain diseases.
This took place during the first court hearing on abortion charges in seven years. The court determined that it is unconstitutional to punish women if they have an abortion or punish doctors who have performed an abortion with a woman’s consent.
Seven years ago, the Constitutional Court considered the fetus’ right to life superior to women’s right to self-determination, but this time it judged that the right to life violated the right to self-determination. Punishing abortions for social and economic reasons without exception is seen as unconstitutional because it excessively restricts women’s right to self-determination.
The National Assembly will be required to revise the abortion law by December 31, 2020, ending a 66-year-old ban. The current law will be maintained until then.