M.D. group opposes abortion policy

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M.D. group opposes abortion policy


The country’s largest group for obstetricians and gynecologists is opposing the government’s comprehensive abortion prevention policy, saying that the policy doesn’t address the issue properly and implies that obstetricians are “potential criminals.”

The Korean Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists on Wednesday demanded that the Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs withdraw its plan to operate a “129” call center, meaning that people could call that number to report illegal abortions.

“Operating the 129 call center means that [the government] is pointing out that obstetricians have the potential to commit crimes and it wants to watch over us,” said Park Noh-jun, chairman of the obstetricians’ association.

The association also said that Korea’s health laws concerning mothers and children are below par compared with other Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries’, and that by encouraging reports of illegal abortion procedures, the ministry is putting the responsibility solely on obstetricians.

A month ago, Pro-Life Doctors, an anti-abortion doctors’ group, reported three obstetrics hospitals to the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office for conducting illegal abortions. The incident prompted the Health Ministry to announce a “comprehensive abortion prevention policy” earlier this month, which included opening a call center, creating the “mother safe” program - an on- and offline counseling service for mothers or pregnant women - as well as monthly medical and welfare support for unwed mothers below the age of 24. Young unwed mothers would receive 100,000 won ($87) for child support and 24,000 won for medical fees per month until they turn 24.

“It seems as though the government has no clear will to stop abortion practices,” Pro-Life Doctors’ spokeswoman Choi An-na said of the measures.

“Policies to curb abortion and state support to encourage giving birth are lacking.”



By Cho Jae-eun [jainnie@joongang.co.kr]

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