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SEOUL, Korea, May 9, 2011 ( – Abortion is “even worse than ordinary murder,” said Bishop Gabriel Chang Bong-hun of Cheongju, who heads the Korean bishops’ commission on bioethics, in a message for the country’s first annual Sunday of Life.


The prelate explained that abortion is worse “because it is committed by the parents of the victim and the medical staff that is supposed to protect life,” according to Asia News.

“It is a brutal crime against a defenceless human being and must be condemned without question,” he added.

The bishops have long held an annual ‘Day for Life’ on the last Sunday of May, but at the plenary assembly in March they decided to rename it the “Sunday of Life” and move it to the first Sunday in May.  They indicated this was meant to “vitalize the pro-life movement.”  The bishops have also sponsored a Rosary campaign during May to promote life.

Bishop Chang Bong-hun also criticized “inadequate sexual education” and a “lack of equality between the sexes” as “crimes against life.”  “They are the result of a lack of medical ethics, poor support for those who want to give life and inadequate government help for couples without children,” he said.

“What worries me is the fact the people have become completely insensitive to the idea of moral judgement,” the bishop added. “People no longer care, and thus prepare the ground for other crimes. A rampant culture of death is spreading around the world, especially in Korea, and it must be stopped.”

In February, the Korean bishops announced a pro-life initiative called the New Life Project to offer shelter and financial support to single mothers, as well as free deliveries for unmarried pregnant women in Catholic hospitals.

Although South Korea’s Mother and Child Health Law only permits abortion when the mother’s health is in serious danger, or in cases of rape, incest or severe genetic disorder, abortion is rampant throughout the country. In the past the government has promoted population control by abortion, and it continues to turn a blind eye to the technically illegal abortion trade.

The country now has one of the highest abortion rates worldwide and the second-lowest birthrate. Official data from the Ministry of Health last year indicates that doctors perform 350,000 abortions per year, while they deliver on average of just 450,000 babies, meaning 43.7 percent of pregnancies end in abortion.