Recent Court Ruling Spurs Debate over ‘Abortion Pills’ | Be Korea-savvy

Recent Court Ruling Spurs Debate over ‘Abortion Pills’


Mifegyne is a medication that contains mifepristone, the substance responsible for bringing about an abortion during pregnancy. (image: Exelgyn)

Mifegyne is a medication that contains mifepristone, the substance responsible for bringing about an abortion during pregnancy. (image: Exelgyn)

SEOUL, Apr. 15 (Korea Bizwire)The recent ruling by the South Korean constitutional court that has called punitive measures against abortion unconstitutional has rekindled the controversial debate over ‘abortion pills’.

Women’s rights advocacy groups and pharmacist organizations have called for the introduction of Mifegyne, a pill-shaped medication that induces abortion, while others have argued that a consensus should come first under the premise that Mifegyne will be used only at hospitals under a doctor’s supervision.

The Korean Pharmacists for Democratic Society (KPDS) have recently released an opinion asking for the quick introduction of Mifegyne as well as the legalization of abortion.

Mifegyne is a medication that contains mifepristone, the substance responsible for bringing about an abortion during pregnancy.

It was first developed in France in 1980 and is now being sold in more than 60 countries around the world including the United States, England, Australia, and Sweden.

Mifepristone blocks the excretion of certain hormones required for the fetus to grow and induces contractions of the uterus that lead to a miscarriage.

Even in South Korea where abortion is illegal, Mifegyne is readily available online.

“The National Assembly and the government should honor the decision of the constitutional court and offer the right to safe abortion by carrying out realistic plans that include the introduction of Mifegyne,” said the KPDS.

Medical experts argue that proper prescription and treatment is essential when introducing Mifegyne into the country.

They have also showed concerns over the information that Mifegyne, if consumed within 12 weeks of pregnancy, will allow for a safe abortion.

They said that there are no medications that can ensure ‘safety’, and abortion is essentially an act that imposes a significant stress on pregnant women.

“Mifegyne is used for women less than 7 weeks into their pregnancy, and it may cause serious side effects including bloody discharges due to incomplete miscarriages,” said Kim Dong-suk, president of the Korean Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

“Even if Mifegyne is brought into the country, it should only be used at hospitals under a doctor’s supervision along with follow-up care, which is essential if we consider the privacy of patients.”

The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said it cannot currently discuss the possibility of introducing Mifegyne since the recent decision by the constitutional court has not yet been reflecting in new legislation.

H. M. Kang (hmkang@koreabizwire.com)

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