South Korea has just lifted the ban on abortion, after a landmark ruling by the country’s Constitutional Court.
South Korea’s Constitutional Court on Thursday struck down the country’s laws prohibiting abortion, a landmark decision challenging the 66-year-old ban that had become increasingly unpopular in recent years.
Seven out of nine judges ruled that outlawing abortion was unconstitutional votes from six judges were needed to overturn the ban.
After the announcement of the ruling, an uproarious cheer and cries of relief broke out from a couple hundred protesters outside the courthouse. A coalition of women’s rights activists, legal and medical experts and feminist scholars declared victory, after years of campaigning for the laws’ repeal.
Previously, women who had abortions in South Korea could face up to a year in prison and be fined up to two million won ($1,780), while doctors who helped terminate pregnancy could be jailed for up to two years.
Abortion was criminalized in South Korea in 1953, with exceptions for rape, incest and genetic disability. Termination of pregnancies after 20 weeks will remain illegal