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Thousands protest against abortion
Call for repeal of Article14 of Mother and Child Act, which they say encourages abortionKoreans protest against abortion at the country's first annual March for Life, June 9, 2012 (John Won)
- ucanews.com staff, Seoul
- June 12, 2012
Standing in front of Seoul City Hall, they called for the repeal of a law that allows abortion, easier methods of safely abandoning babies and government support for single mothers.
â€śWe should solve the abortion issue by approaching social and financial factors,â€ť said Thomas Cha Hee-jae, president of the Korean Pro-life Doctors Association.
Participants urged the government to abolish Article 14 of the Mother and Child Health Act, which was passed in 1973, saying the clause encourages women to have abortions.
According to Article 14, abortion can be performed in cases of pregnancy by rape or incest, certain kinds of genetic, mental, or physical conditions, or danger to the motherâ€™s health.
Critics of the law say it has effectively legalized abortion because the government has been lax in enforcing it.
To lower abortion rates, another attendee, Reverend Lee Jong-rak, suggested that the governmentÂ support establishingÂ "Baby Boxes" nationwide.Â A Baby Box is a place where mothers can bring their babies, usually newborns, and leave them anonymously in a safe place.
Lee set up the countryâ€™s first and only Baby Box in 2009, in Seoul.
â€śWe need more,â€ť he said. About 50-100 South Korean infants die after being abandoned each year, and another 10-20 are killed by their parents, according to the National Police Agency. So far, 18 disabled babies and 52 other newborns have been left in the box.
Abortion has been a hot-button issue in South Korea lately. On June 7, the Food and Drug Administration announced morning-after pills will likely be available over-the-counterÂ at the end of the year.
â€śThe final decision on the contraceptive pills will be madeÂ during public hearings. All of us should participate in the hearings toÂ reverse the governmentâ€™s decision,â€ť said Kim Hyun-chul, president of Korea Pro-life.
Morning-after pill to be freely available
Bishop calls for health act revision
Koreans launch anti-abortion drive