Abortion Law to Become Tougher in Korea

The Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs said that it will introduce a bill to reduce the term limit for abortions from 28 weeks to 24 to the National Assembly.

Any ruling, however, will not affect women suffering from hereditary diseases.

Currently, women can undergo the procedure when they have epilepsy, hemophilia, serious mental disorders and hereditary conditions before they are 28 weeks pregnant. Abortion is also allowed for women who get pregnant through rape and incest, or if the pregnancy puts their life at risk.

Many industrialized countries prohibit late-stage abortions ― Germany sets a limit of 12 weeks while Japan and Britain have thresholds of 22 weeks and 24 weeks, respectively.

Abortion is seen as a serious social issue here, with the number of procedures reaching 339,818 in 2005.

Healthy women who undergo elective abortions can be imprisoned for up to one year or fined two million won. Doctors performing the abortion can be imprisoned for up to two years.

The revision bill will go into effect immediately if the National Assembly endorses it.



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