Sunday, September 29, 2013

Abortion in Korea

What is the position of religious believers and non-believers on the issue of abortion in Korea? it's the question being asked this month by the Catholic Times, together with a Korean polling organization. Members of three religions--Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists--and those who have no religious belief were polled. Over all, Catholics did a little bit better in opposing abortion than the other three groups. Against abortion: 14.7 percent were Catholics, 6.9 percent were Protestants, 2.4 percent Buddhist, and 1.5 percent non-believers. When it came to mitigating circumstances that might be present, complicating the decision to abort, Catholics did not do as well in mirroring the Catholic position as did the other three groups. The majority of Catholics, 82.9 percent, had no difficulty with abortion in any circumstance. 

The polling was conducted scientifically, with 1000 respondents divided up as they are in the population: Buddhist 210, Protestants 202, Catholics 98 and non-believers 490. To the question: Should abortion be allowed to unmarried mothers and to those who have an unintended pregnancy, the survey found that Catholics, more than those in the other three groups, answered yes.

A person's religion, the editorial laments, seems to have little significant relevance in determining how a person will act. This fact not only has been seen in recent times but has been the reality for decades. The Church has been speaking out forcefully, the editorial points out, from the time of the Mother-Child Health Act, and continues to do so by promoting a culture of life, hoping in this way to change the thinking about  abortion. However, as Catholics have clearly shown, in this recent survey, they have not been moved much by the teaching of the Church in how they conduct their lives.

All surveys show the same results. The Church, undaunted by these results, believes the first step in changing the current "culture of death" continues to be programs that urge Christians to follow a lifestyle that promotes a culture of life.

Korea is beginning to see the same results that other countries have noticed in the past about many troubling issues faced by our modern societies. The culture of many societies today is much more determinative of what many of our Christians will be doing than the teaching and precepts of the Church. In this particular survey, what is surprising is that some of the  unbelievers have a better understanding of what abortion should mean than Catholics do, which forces one to think of possible solutions. If there is something in our cultures that has a more powerful influence on a number of people than the teachings of any one group or religion, it might be a wake-up call to all religions that more effort is needed in reaching the minds and hearts of their members, if the current situation is to change.  In Korea, complicating the issue, it is important to remember,  the majority of Catholics are not cradle Catholics but converts to the faith at a mature age, having been influenced for many years by a culture quite different from that which nurtured the Catholic faith. 


  1. If we focus more on the cause of abortion, which in most cases is the father's disappearance, then, we would have less abortions to talk about.

    More homilies on rape would be another option.
    Priests asking men in confession if they , the men, had the sin of abortion ---that would be another solution to reduce fatherless, which in turn will reduce abortion.

    Love and Responsibility ---JP2....

  2. As Pope Francis said.... abortion, same-sex, etc., come within a context..... abortion in particular, comes in the context of family life/couple - so, men and women are BOTH responsible for abortion.

    Usually men disappear, leaving the woman to decide on life or abortion.... easy way out for men.....