On Thursday, the Constitutional Court of South Korea in Seoul ordered the abortion ban, which it deems unconstitutional, to be lifted and called for new legislation to be adopted "by the end of next year". The court has decided that the legislation banning abortion will end automatically on 1 January 2021, unless the law is amended by then. Abortion has until now been considered a criminal offence, except in cases of rape, incest or threat to the mother’s health and/or life.
"Since embryos are completely dependent for their survival and development on the mother's body, it cannot be concluded that they are separate and independent living beings with a right to life", the court said. This decision follows a poll, published yesterday, revealing that 58% of the population is in favour of lifting the ban. A survey conducted in 2018 also indicated that "one in five women who have been pregnant had already had an abortion ".
"The Constitutional Court’s decision denies the fundamental right to life of a foetus which has a human dignity from the very moment of conception but cannot defend itself", lamented the Korean Catholic Bishops' Conference.