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South Korea to legalize abortion after 66-year ban

17:05, Thursday, 11 April, 2019
South Korea to legalize abortion after 66-year ban

South Korea's 66-year abortion ban must be lifted by end of 2020 the country's Constitutional Court ruled Thursday, in a major win for pro-choice advocates. Seven out of nine judges ruled that outlawing abortion was unconstitutional -- votes from six judges were needed to overturn the ban. Lawmakers now have until December 31, 2020 to revise the law. Termination of pregnancy after 20-weeks will remain illegal. Previously, women who had abortions in South Korea could face up to a year in prison and can be fined up to two million won ($1,780), while doctors or healthcare workers who helped terminate a pregnancy could be jailed for up to two years. While prosecutions were rare, they were not unheard of. Three-quarters of women aged 15 to 44 regarded the law as unfair, according to results of a survey released this year by the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs. Around 20% of respondents said they had had an abortion despite it being illegal. Recent pressure to decriminalize the practice, however, had seen pushback from conservative and religious groups, some of which have links to US anti-abortion campaigns.

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