On April 11, 2019, the Constitutional Court of Korea declared the current law banning abortion during the early part of pregnancy as unconstitutional with the rationale that it violates self-determination. As a result, the decision ended the ban on abortion, which has existed for 66 years. I remember participating in a class discussion as a 10-year-old child on the issue. Most of my classmates were pro-life, and I never doubted the laws of the land. As I grew, I met lots of people and heard their stories. Listening to their ideas and perspectives, I endeavored to overcome my personal battle with upholding the law and understanding other possibilities. I had to deny society wants and demands all in the name of following the law as “natural”. Over the years, I learned to think differently and suspect premises society held as “natural” such as laws, traditions, and customs. I change a lot once I started recognizing and respecting others’ rights, especially abortion from the view of women.
Hearing the Constitution court’s decision, I realized society merely followed blindly the law as absolute truth, but it doesn’t always respect others’ rights. In the past, there were many assumed “natural” truths among society, and today people view those ideologies as absurd or irrational such freedom, voting rights, and so on. Groups of people have been battling presumed truths for decades and raising their voices in unison for a change; as a result, people earned the freedom of speech and the right to vote regardless of gender or race. A change happened because society realized the need to respect the rights of other people. Even though many traditions and laws have been changed, a lot remains to be changed, so certain groups in society are still fighting. When confronting this kind of issues, ask yourself, “Is this natural for everyone?” Then, start questioning accepted premises and raising your voice if you determine it’s not natural for everyone. When we call for change, society becomes more rational and equality becomes a normal part of that society. The things we once believed as natural are sometimes just our desire to be truth for our own interests.