South Korean Doctors Organize Pro-Life Groups to Discourage Rampant Abortion
By Thaddeus M. Baklinski
SEOUL, January 5, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A group of South Korean doctors are hoping to motivate the people of their country to reexamine the catastrophic pro-abortion culture in which they live. They are hoping to force the government to enforce the existing abortion laws, by organizing groups to discourage women from having abortions and to report clinics that perform them illegally.
Dr. Choi Anna and her colleagues held a news conference in November to ask "forgiveness" for having performed illegal abortions, and have since formed the group Gynob which calls on other doctors to declare whether they have performed illegal abortions.
Obstetrician and Gynob member Dr. Shim Sang-duk said the group's goal is to call attention to the hypocrisy of the un-enforced abortion law and to end abortion in the country entirely.
There is little stigma attached to abortion in this country that for decades encouraged the medical profession to provide abortion and contraception to Korean women for patriotic reasons, and was a lucrative business for them.
"We see a tendency to have one perfect child and abort the rest," Dr. Choi said. "We had women demanding an abortion simply because they had taken cold medicine or drunk too much while pregnant."
"We sold our soul for money," added Dr. Choi. "Abortion was an easy way to make money."
Another group, Pro-Life Doctors, has been formed to encourage women to carry their pregnancies to birth and to encourage doctors to abandon the practice of abortion. The group plans to run a hot-line to report clinics that perform illegal abortions and will report practitioners of such abortions to the police, according to a NY Times report.
South Korea's Mother and Child Health Law permits abortion only when the mother's health is in serious danger, or in cases of rape, incest or severe genetic disorder. It is illegal after 24 weeks of pregnancy.
However, due to past government promotion of population control by abortion, the government turned a blind eye to the illegal abortion trade and the law was almost never enforced.
Official data from the Ministry of Health indicates that doctors perform 350,000 abortions per year, while they deliver on average just 450,000 babies, meaning 43.7 percent of pregnancies end in abortion.
However, the actual number of abortions may be at least five times the official estimate. According to the Korea Times, Rep. Chang Yoon-seok of the ruling Grand National Party said that a National Assembly inspection in October found that the number of illegal abortions in Korea exceeds 1.5 million a year or roughly 4,000 babies aborted per day.
The resultant current fertility rate of 1.19 children per woman, one of the lowest in the world, caused the government to abandoned the population control policy, and is now frantically moving in the opposite direction to save the nation from a self-inflicted demographic implosion that threatens to undermine the nation's economic and social survival.
In November, President Lee Myung-bak convened a government meeting to call for "bold" steps to increase the nation's birthrate.
"Even if we don't intend to hold anyone accountable for all those illegal abortions in the past, we must crack down on them from now on," Health Minister Jeon Jae-hee said at that meeting.
Read related LSN coverage:
Korean Physician Faces Death-Threats after Pro-Life Conversion