By Jonathon Van Maren
Last August, I reported on the protests against South Korea’s strict abortion laws, which at one point involved 125 women publicly swallowing abortion pills to challenge the government’s stance. South Korean pro-lifers have been pushing back, responding to a petition of 230,000 signatures demanding that abortion be legalized with a counter-petition of over a million signatures supporting South Korea’s pro-life laws. Over half of South Koreans still believe that abortion is murder, and abortion has been illegal there except in cases of rape, incest, the mother’s health, or severe genetic disorders since 1953.
Despite that, South Korean abortion activists have finally achieved victory via another route, with the constitutional court ruling that the nation’s abortion laws must be changed and ordering the national assembly to revise the current regime by the end of 2020. If the law is not changed by then, the court will simply void the current laws. Abortion activists had almost achieved this result in 2012, when four justices voted in favour of scrapping South Korea’s abortion laws and four had voted against, with the ninth seat needed to break the deadlock standing vacant.