Posted November. 28, 2017 08:44,
Updated November. 28, 2017 09:20
“Women are human beings, too. Make abortion legal.” “My uterus is my own property.” These are the quotes shown at the protest in downtown Seoul conducted by feminist organizations on Oct. 15. Participants marched in black clothes, shouting that women have the rights for women’s bodies, such as pregnancy, termination of pregnancy and childbirth.
The trigger for this demonstration was the amendment of “Rules of Administrative Measures in Medical Relations,” which the Ministry of Health and Welfare announced to legislate. According to the amendment, the punishments will be reinforced for doctors who conduct an induced abortion, which is labeled as “immoral medical action,” such as suspension of qualification up to maximum of 12 months. The organizers of the protest claimed that they are angry at the society accusing abortion as infanticide, and that the government has been conniving illegal abortion procedures for several decades for the population control policy, but it is making “abortion” an issue as low birth rate is being magnified as a social issue.
Twenty nine out of 35 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) allow abortion upon the request of the pregnant woman, or if there is social or economic issue. Korea only allows abortion in extremely exceptional cases, such as rape. But among the number of abortions, assumed to be 169,000 (as of 2010) a year in numbers, only 6 percent of them are legal procedures. As the “National Petition” on the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae demanding for the abolition of illegalization of abortion exceeds 230,000 cases, senior presidential secretary for civil affairs Cho Kuk said that “the responsibilities of the nation and men are completely left out,” practically revealing that the amendment is necessary.
The capital punishment is written in the Constitution and the act, but it has never been practiced since 1997. Even the public opinion moves toward its abolition, when inhumane crime takes place, the debate on the practicing of capital punishment as the Law of Retribution (Lex Talionis) fires up again. The opinions on abolishing the illegalization of abortion claiming to reflect the change in time is high, but the opinions on retention is also powerful. U.S. President Donald Trump, who was a Republican candidate for the presidential election of 2016, even made a pledge that he would “appoint the Supreme Court Justice who is against abortion.” He claimed that the respect for life of the fetus must be prioritized over the woman’s choice. Perhaps the issue on abortion is the only reason for it, but the survey after the presidential election showed that 81 percent of the Caucasian Protestant support Trump. Abortion is a crucial point that separates the Progressives and the Conservatives in the United States, but it seems a bit more complicated in Korea.