South Korean Catholic Hierarchy Pressures Government to Maintain Restrictive Abortion Laws

An effort to liberalize abortion access in South Korea is gaining public momentum following an official petition that gained nearly a quarter-million signatures in 30 days. The current law criminalizes abortion in most circumstances and requires married women obtain permission from their spouse to access abortion care. The strength of the petition spurred the Seoul Archdiocese’s Committee For Life to issue an official response in which it denigrated women’s right to bodily autonomy. The committee’s chairman, Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, described calls for abortion access selfish at a forum of the National Assembly in November. The country is regarded as one of the least equal in the world from the perspective of gender equality.

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