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Abortion, a Woman’s Choice or the Ethical Rule?
Park Kang Sieun  |  smt_sieun@sm.ac.kr
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승인 2016.12.11  00:19:47
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On October 23, 2016, the Ministry of Health and Welfare was officially announced the enactment of the new ‘Immoral Medical Treatment Act’, which will include current ‘illegal’ abortions.  According to the revisions to the Act, doctors who provide abortion services will be punished more severely.  In the past, doctors lost their license to practise medicine for 3 months, but under the new revisions to the Act, doctors will lose their licenses for 12 months.  After the announce, ‘Korean College of Ob & Gyn’ announced it will stop all scheduled abortions, saying it was unprepared to handle the situation.  It will now turn a blind eye to all women seeking an abortion.  The announcement by the Korean College of Ob & Gyn upset thousands of women in Korea who protested the announcement with slogans like ‘Womb is for Women’ to show support for abortion and the right to make decisions on their body themselves.  With such strong objection, the Ministry of Health and Welfare terminated its plan to revise the Act.  The problem, however, remains women must prove the need for an abortion according to stipulates in the law in order to qualify to have one.  In Korea, pregnancies due to rape, mental disorder, infectious disease, and incest are the only ones deemed fit for legal abortion.  Because a large number of abortions are illegal under the law, reasons such as ‘not wanting the child’, regulations need modification.  If the Act does not expand the notion of legal abortion, many women will likely travel to other nation in order to have an abortion.  Now is the time to see women not as babymaking machines, but as people in society with the same rights and freedoms to make personal life choices.   

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