South Korean Abortion Law upheld by highest court

By Dave Andrusko

On a tie vote, South Korea’s highest court has rejected a challenge to the nation’s 59-year-old law on abortion.

Abortion is banned except in cases of rape, incest, or severe genetic disorders or before 24 weeks if the mother’s health is in danger. The vote by South Korea’s Constitutional Court was 4-4—four to uphold the law, four to overturn it. Six votes were needed to strike down the 1953 law.

“The Constitutional Court also upheld a South Korea law that punishes midwives and other persons who help administer illegal abortions with a prison sentence of up to two years,” according to AFP. “The court dismissed a challenge to that law, saying that reducing the punishment would only lead to more abortions being performed.”

AFP reported that a “midwife filed a petition against a clause of the law stipulating a maximum two-year jail term for doctors, midwives, traditional medicine doctors, or pharmacists who perform an illegal abortion.” Her challenge to the constitutionality of the law came after going on trial for helping a woman abort in 2010. “The constitutional court, however, dismissed the petition saying lighter punishment would only make abortion more rampant.”