SEOUL, Oct. 12 (Korea Bizwire) — Last week, the government announced plans to introduce a new amendment bill that allows abortion until the 14th week of pregnancy, while also retaining penalties for illegal abortions.
Abortion-related discussions are also occurring among teens, who have been relatively sidelined from mainstream debate.
The bill stipulates that minors over 16 years of age are allowed to have abortions if they submit a certificate of psychological consultation. Prior approval from legal guardians can be exempted if they face certain unavoidable situations.
Experts argue, however, that such provisions fail to reflect the reality and respect the right of teens to sexual self-determination.
“Requiring teens to submit documentation to prove that they are being subject to abuse doesn’t reflect the urgency of abortion,” said activist Yang Ji-hye from WeTee, a youth feminist network.
“It obstructs the teen’s right to self-determination to have an abortion without the presence of their legal guardians.”
“Anyone, both underaged and adults, can experience unwanted pregnancy,” said a female high school student from Seoul. “Provisions on underage abortion should be flexible.”
Women are calling upon an outright repeal of all penal measures for abortion as they share their experiences of abortion on Twitter and other social networks.
For women in their 20s, too, legalizing abortion is an important issue.
“Once abortion is legalized, no woman would have to give up on their dreams just because they got pregnant,” said a 26-year-old woman.
Women in their teens and 20s are showing deep interest in the abortion debate as a result of early exposure to the dialogue of feminism and women’s rights, indicating that the younger generation of women feel more sensitive toward their rights to self-determination, experts claim.
“While the state sees women in their teens and 20s as the ‘best generations for reproduction’, these women are insistent on not living their lives as defined by the state to become ‘reproducers of population,’” said Prof. Yoon Kim Ji-yeong from Konkuk University.
Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)