Medical school students in Korea announced that they supported a recent petition to the Constitutional Court to scrap the law banning abortion.
The petition was submitted by an obstetrics and gynecology doctor, who was indicted for performing 69 abortions from November 2013 to July 2015 at the request or with the approval of women.
The Korean Medical Student Association (KMSA) wrote in its official social media sites that the association was supporting the petition to legalize abortion and demanded the Constitutional Court scrap “Paragraph 1 of Article 269 and Paragraph 1 of Article 270 of the Criminal Act.”
The students’ group said it has already been proven medically and socially that the abortion ban negatively affects both the fetus and women’s right to life.
“In Korean society, abortion has been thwarted by the assertion that the fetus has the right to life,” the KMSA said in a statement. "However, the prohibition of abortion does not lead to more protection of the fetus’ lives in the end.”
“For example, abortion ban in Romania seemed to increase the birthrate temporarily, but it came down to a level before the ban. Rather, the ban resulted in more illegal and dangerous abortion procedures, rapidly pushing up the maternal mortality rate,” it added.
Korea is also known to have a much higher rate of abortion and maternal mortality than members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development such as Germany and Canada, which allow abortion for socioeconomic reasons, the association said.
The KMSA went on to say, “The International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA) state that women should make the decision whether to continue the pregnancy and that a safe abortion should be guaranteed.”
The students’ group emphasized that they had the same stance with the petitioner, IFMSA, and the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family.
The group also demanded the Justice Ministry apologize for making “an anachronistic and sexist argument” during the Constitutional Court’s review of the petition.
“The justice ministry publicly stated about the woman who had an abortion as ‘a person who did sexual intercourse but did not want to accept the result, which is pregnancy and childbirth.’ Such expressions revealed the hateful perception of women,” the KMSA said.
These words showed the ministry’s wrong view that men and the state were not responsible for pregnancy and childbirth and that only women should take the disadvantage of unwanted pregnancies, it added.