1 July 2009
Source: The Korea Herald
By Lee Ji-yoon
Regulations on abortion will be toughened as a revised bill to the Mother and Child Health Law was approved at a Cabinet meeting yesterday.
According to the revision, which becomes effective starting next week, the permissible period for abortion was shortened to within 24 weeks.
Removed from the list of hereditary diseases allowing abortion were seven diseases such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, hemophilia and other mental disorders that can be treated or pose a low risk of fatality.
Women who are suffering from some infectious diseases, such as AIDS, chicken pox and hepatitis, also cannot receive abortion because of their illnesses.
Before the completion of the revised bill, the ministry held several meetings for the past two years together with doctors, civic groups, religious people and women's rights groups.
According to the latest survey on abortion conducted in 2005, a total of 342,433 women had abortions that year while 42.03 percent of them were unmarried women. Of them, 42.1 percent responded they did not want more children and 40.1 percent said they were under-aged or had some marriage problems. Financial difficulties and substance abuse during pregnancy were also cited by 11.6 percent and 9.6 percent, respectively.