Abortion Laws in South Korea
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.
What are the different abortion services available in South Korea?
- Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA)
Who can perform abortions in South Korea?
Trained health care providers can perform abortions and many do so unofficially.
Where can I go for abortion services in South Korea?
Both public and private health care institutes, specifically ob-gyn clinics, offer abortions on an unofficial basis.
What is the cost of abortion services in South Korea?
The cost is usually between $600 - $700.
Can I buy abortion pills from pharmacies in South Korea?
Misoprostol and mifepristone are not available for purchase from pharmacies.
Who can I contact for additional information and support?
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- The Mother and Child Health Act (1973)
- “South Korea to legalize abortion after 66-year ban.” CNN.com, https://edition.cnn.com/2019/04/11/health/south-korea-abortion-ban-ruling-intl/index.html
- “Abortion is easy to access, but still illegal.” Korea JoongAng Daily, http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=3059601
- “South Korea court strikes down six-decade-old abortion ban.” The Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/south-korea-court-strikes-down-six-decade-old-abortion-ban/2019/04/11/0200f028-5c43-11e9-842d-7d3ed7eb3957_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.6aa0b9651e12