Mothers to Be Told Their Unborn Child's Gender

      February 03, 2009 09:44

      Women will be able to find out the gender of their unborn child in the seventh month of pregnancy, when it is too late for an abortion, under plans by the Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs. The ministry on Monday said it plans to revise the medical law to allow doctors to identify the fetal gender and tell mothers starting next January.

      When doctors will be allowed to identify the child's gender has not been decided, but it will likely be after the 28th week or the seventh month of pregnancy because under the Mother and Child Health Law the latest deadline for inevitable abortions is the 28th week.

      Currently doctors or nurses face a jail term of up to three years or a fine of up to W10 million, in addition to loss of their licenses, for telling mothers or other relatives the gender of unborn children, regardless of the point during the pregnancy period (US$1=W1,390). But the Constitutional Court in July last year found the clause in the medical law that bans the identification and notification of the child's gender unconstitutional.

      A ministry official said, "The revision of the medical law is still waiting for parliamentary approval. We believe that it will be approved by the National Assembly and implemented next year because it is in line with the Constitutional Court's decision and neither ruling nor opposition parties have any objection."

      Only Korea and China ban identification of an unborn child's gender, the official added. The ban came in 1987 when too many pregnant women chose to abort girls due to the traditional preference for sons.

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