July 01, 2022 12:44
Abortions in Korea have been on the rise since a court ruled in 2019 that banning them is unconstitutional.
The Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs on Thursday said abortions increased from 26,985 in 2019 to 32,063 in 2020. That translates into 3.3 of every 1,000 women aged 15 to 44.
"The ruling by the Constitutional Court could have had an influence, but we cannot determine that from existing data," KIHASA said.
The ban was widely ignored long before it was scrapped. But abortions from 2018 to 2020 declined compared to 10 or 15 years ago, when the birthrate was also much higher. In 2005, there were an estimated 342,433 abortions in Korea, but that fell to 168,738 in 2010 and 69,609 in 2016.
KIHASA attributed the decline to increasing use of contraceptives and a decline in the population of women aged 15 to 44. Out of 8,500 women who took part in the latest study, 606 had had abortions or 8.6 percent of women who had sex and 17.2 percent of women who had children.
The average age of women who had abortions was 28.5, while half of them were single when they had them. The main reasons for choosing to abort were job continuity, financial difficulties in raising a child and unwanted pregnancy.
Byun Soo-jung at KIHASA said, "Abortions have become legal since the court ruling, but there has been no follow-up legislation. We need to come up with replacement laws that will ensure safe abortions."
"Also needed are education on birth control methods, counseling for women who have abortions and financial support for those in need," she added.
Choi Young-joon at the Ministry of Health and Welfare said, "The government has been providing state health insurance coverage of counseling on abortions at hospitals since last August."
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