Skip to content

South Korea's abortion ban could be overturned this week

Free World Class Education
FREE Catholic Classes

4/11/2019 (3 months ago)
Catholic Online (

A pro-life doctor in South Korea is asking the international community for prayers, as the country's constituional court considers whether to overturn its national abortion ban April 11.


Catholic Online (
4/11/2019 (3 months ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: South Korea's, abortion ban, overturned

Seoul, South Korea, (CNA) - Around 1,000 South Koreans rallied April 6 at a March for Life in Seoul's Gwanghwamun Square ahead of the Constitutional Court ruling on the country's abortion law, which currently prohibits abortion except in the case of rape, incest, genetic disease, or risk to the mother's health.

"We have done our best to protect the life of fetuses. Now we can only pray for life," Brother James Shin told CNA following the march.

Shin is a doctor and religious brother who provides medical care to the the poor and is active in South Korea's pro-life movement.

Abortion advocates are calling on the court to allow abortions within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, and to add social and economic reasons to the exceptions allowing for abortion further into pregnancy, Shin said.

At least six judges on Korea's nine-member Constitutional Court, due to rule April 11, are needed to declare the current law unconstitutional.

The Archbishop of Seoul, Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soojung, has been an outspoken advocate for the protection of unborn life in South Korea's national debates.

"Human dignity cannot be decided by majority vote or judged by socioeconomic standards," Cardinal Yeom said at a Mass for Catholic congressmen last month.

The cardinal also called for an end to the death penalty in Korea. "Human life is the most important and fundamental gift, which is a source of all human rights. The death penalty is a serious insult and sin against everyone's right to life," he said.

Abortion is known to be common in South Korea, despite being against the country's criminal code. Women obtaining an illicit procedure can be sentenced to a year in prison or a fine of under $2,000, while doctors can be jailed for up to two years, but the law is rarely enforced.

About 340,000 abortions are performed annually in South Korea, while 440,000 child births are reported, according to a 2012 study published in the International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family.

"In high-income South Korea ... safe but clandestine procedures are widely available, despite a fairly restrictive law," said the Guttmacher Institute, which provides research and analysis to "advance sexual and reproductive health and rights," in a 2018 report.

The current case being considered by Korea's Constitutional Court was brought to court by an obstetrician prosecuted for performing 69 illegal abortions between 2013 and 2015.

At his confirmation last September, the Chief Justice of Korea's Constitutional Court, Yoo Nam-seok, said, "I think we need to consider ways to allow women's termination of pregnancies in early stages for social and economic reasons through consultations with doctors and professionals," the Korea Herald reported.

Brother Shin characterized the current cultural atmosphere in South Korea as leaning towards "pro-choice." He said that he wants to bring the movie "Unplanned" to Korea to raise awareness of the reality of abortion.

"We need people's prayers for Korea," he said.


More Asia Pacific

UN approves investigation into drug war in the Philippines Watch

Image of

The UN Human Rights Council has approved a resolution to launch an investigation into the violent war on drugs taking place in the ... continue reading

Catholic woman with schizophrenia being held for blasphemy in Indonesia Watch

Image of

 A mentally ill woman who identified herself as a Catholic is being held for blasphemy in Indonesia after an incident last week in ... continue reading

Chinese officials crack down on religious funerals, weddings Watch

Image of

As the Communist Party of China continues to tighten its grip on the regulation of religion and religious activity, a human rights group is ... continue reading

Families are a radical witness to hope in modern society, Archbishop Gomez says Watch

Image of

The Christian family must become a "radical" sign against a climate of despair and isolation Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles said ... continue reading

Christian leaders call for dialogue, end to violence in Hong Kong Watch

Image of

Hundreds of thousands of protestors in Hong Kong are continuing to demonstrate against the government's plans to allow extraditions to ... continue reading

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Deacon Keith Fournier Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you. Help Now >

Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.

Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.