About 340,000 abortions are performed annually in South Korea while 440,000 childbirths are reported. These figures raise a host of questions given strict criminal regulations that make most of these abortions illegal. This article examines the discrepancy between the widespread practice of abortion and Korean law. The author conducts a comparative review of relevant laws and cases and places the regulation of abortion in the context of political agendas, ideological positions, and cultural values related to abortion. Tracing the discourse on abortion from Korean independence to the present, it is revealed that the same arguments used to support abortion have also been used to oppose it. The author concludes by theorizing that a deep-seated disregard for women’s rights is behind recent abortion controversies in South Korean society.
Journal Article. 11739 words. Illustrated.
Subjects: Family Law ; Marriage and the Family
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