South Korea to legalize abortion in landmark ruling

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South Korea to legalize abortion in landmark ruling



South Korea's Constitutional Court on Thursday overturned a ban on abortion that has stood for more than 65 years, saying in a landmark ruling that current law unconstitutionally curbs women's rights. Francesca Lynagh reports.


South Korea is now set to legalize abortion, in a landmark court ruling that will lift a ban in place since 1953.

South Korea's Constitutional Court said on Thursday (April 11) that the law criminalising abortion was unconstitutional.

SOUTH KOREA'S LAWYER REPRESENTING THE PLAINTIFF, KIM SU-JUNG, SAYING:

"Honestly I am very pleased. One of the many chains restricting women is gone with this ruling. We hope lawmakers respect the constitutional court's decision and try their best to legislate in accordance with the rights of women.''

The current law allows abortions in some exceptional cases.

Namely, within 24 weeks of becoming pregnant in the case of hereditary diseases, in a pregnancy that could harm the mother, or in the case of pregnancy through rape.

In all those cases, a spouse's permission is required.

Doctors have been liable to criminal charges for abortions carried out with the women's consent.

Thursday's ruling marks a big victory for Korean pro-choice supporters.

But the court says the current law would remain in effect until the end of next year.

The court had previously chosen to uphold the abortion law in 2012. (Reuters)

Pro-life demonstrators hold banners near a police officer during a rally supporting South Korea's anti-abortion regulations outside of the Constitutional Court in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, April 11, 2019. Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chul


Protesters celebrate after listening to a judgment during a rally demanding the abolition of abortion law outside of the Constitutional Court in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, April 11, 2019. South Korea's Constitutional Court has ruled that the country's decades-long ban on abortions is incompatible with the constitution, setting up a likely easing of restrictions. AP


South Korea's Constitutional Court on Thursday overturned a ban on abortion that has stood for more than 65 years, saying in a landmark ruling that current law unconstitutionally curbs women's rights. Francesca Lynagh reports.


South Korea is now set to legalize abortion, in a landmark court ruling that will lift a ban in place since 1953.

South Korea's Constitutional Court said on Thursday (April 11) that the law criminalising abortion was unconstitutional.

SOUTH KOREA'S LAWYER REPRESENTING THE PLAINTIFF, KIM SU-JUNG, SAYING:

"Honestly I am very pleased. One of the many chains restricting women is gone with this ruling. We hope lawmakers respect the constitutional court's decision and try their best to legislate in accordance with the rights of women.''

The current law allows abortions in some exceptional cases.

Namely, within 24 weeks of becoming pregnant in the case of hereditary diseases, in a pregnancy that could harm the mother, or in the case of pregnancy through rape.

In all those cases, a spouse's permission is required.

Doctors have been liable to criminal charges for abortions carried out with the women's consent.

Thursday's ruling marks a big victory for Korean pro-choice supporters.

But the court says the current law would remain in effect until the end of next year.

The court had previously chosen to uphold the abortion law in 2012. (Reuters)

Pro-life demonstrators hold banners near a police officer during a rally supporting South Korea's anti-abortion regulations outside of the Constitutional Court in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, April 11, 2019. Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chul


Protesters celebrate after listening to a judgment during a rally demanding the abolition of abortion law outside of the Constitutional Court in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, April 11, 2019. South Korea's Constitutional Court has ruled that the country's decades-long ban on abortions is incompatible with the constitution, setting up a likely easing of restrictions. AP
Choi Won-suk wschoi@koreatimes.co.kr


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