The Window from the Ark column in the Catholic Times visits again the issue of abortions in Korea. Still the leader in the number of abortions in the developed countries, Korea, the columnist reminds us, has done little to change this reality.
The Church has been clear in its opposition to the Mother-Child Health Act, promulgated 40 years ago. In one way abortions are illegal in Korea but when continuation of a pregnancy can cause serious health problems to a woman, abortions are easily accessible and has been allowed as a means of population control.
Before 1960 it was clearly illegal, a crime with prison as a penalty. The martial law government changed this at a time when public discussion was not easily expressed. The bishops have always been clear in their opposition and have also opposed experiments with embryonic stem cells.
Forty years ago, because of the economic difficulties of life it was permitted, today, when Korea is 13th on the list of developed countries, economics is again the motivation.
In 2005 the government published the figure of 350,000 abortions yearly. The columnist notes that abortions are generally considered to be over a million, and since we have 450,000 births each year, the number of abortions are a staggering figure.
Deciding whether to have an abortion is considered by many as falling within the legitimate right of a woman to choose what happens to her body. This is the position, says the columnist, of the radical women feminists, but it ignores the right to life of the embryo. The columnist sums up the problem as a lack of an understanding of life and and of economics. The Movement of Life, including doctors, teachers, the young and lawyers, are working for a change.
On June 16th there will be a march for life in Seoul. It will be the first time that Korea will participate in such a movement, following the example from the States. It will be composed of women and the young under 25 years old. The slogan they intend to use: "No Longer the World's Capital for Abortions."