Is abortion legal in South Korea?
Abortion is highly restricted in South Korea and is criminalized under articles 269 and 270 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Korea (originally published in 1953). The Maternal and Child Health law, passed in 1973, provides the following permissible exceptions for terminating a pregnancy:
- The woman or her spouse has eugenic or genetic mental and physical disabilities/diseases as prescribed by the Presidential Decree.
- The woman or her spouse has infectious diseases as prescribed by the Presidential Decree.
- The pregnancy is a result of rape/quasi rape
- The pregnancy is a result of incest (consanguinity or affinity), whereas the female and the partner cannot marry legally.
- The continuation of pregnancy is injurious to the health of the female.
On 11 April, 2019, South Korea’s six decade ban on abortion was declared unconstitutional. The court ordered the decriminalization of abortion and a revision of the current abortion laws by 31 December, 2020. The current law (which bans abortion) is still valid until a new one can take effect.