Restrict abortions more carefully
Research conducted three years ago reported that there is a yearly average of 340,000 abortions in Korea.
On the other hand, in 2006, about 470,000 infants were born in the country. That means that the babies killed by abortion represent about 72 percent of the newborn babies.
The Korean government has a law prohibiting abortions.
If doctors perform a surgical operation to cause an abortion without government permission, they will lose their medical license, according to the law. However, only some doctors face losing their license because the law allows several exceptions that legally permit some abortions.
For instance, if any of the parents have a genetic or infectious disease, they can seek an abortion. Second, if a woman is made pregnant by a rape, she can choose abortion.
Third, if the pregnancy carries a possibility of endangering the pregnant woman, she also can legally seek an abortion.
According to a report released by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, of the estimated 340,000 yearly abortions, married women sought abortion in about 204,000 cases while single women received the other 136,000.
Of the married women, about 70 percent decided to abort their unborn babies because they didn’t want to have more children. Another 17.5 percent of the total chose to get an abortion because they can’t afford to raise newborns.
In the case of the single women, 93.7 percent underwent an illegal abortion because they were minors.
The large number of abortions is occurring while Korea worries about its low birthrate and has tried to lower its abortion numbers.
How is the Korean government supposed to decrease the number of abortions?
The government body continues to discuss new ideas to contribute to decreasing the number of abortions.
For example, the government expects to remove the exceptional provisions allowing parents with a genetic disease to have an abortion.
Instead, the government has to require them to consult with doctors.
Most of the 29 OECD member nations already require pregnant women to go to a doctor for counseling to reduce the number of abortions.
Those countries more rigorously prohibit abortions than Korea.
Kim So-yoon, a professor at Yonsei University