Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Is It True That Abortion is Completely Legal in North Korea?

It's practically a truism in the pro-life movement: Canada ranks with North Korea in having no abortion law.

This article made me question that assumption.

The Guardian reports that illegal pregnancy tests are on the rise in North Korea, because abortion is illegal there.

My first reaction: Fail!

Everybody knows abortion is completely legal in North Korea.

So I decided to do some research.

I found this article referring to illegal abortions in North Korea performed in a hospital by an obstetrician.

Giving credence to the original story.

Then I found this site from Women on Waves:

The Criminal Code of March 1950 states that abortion is allowed in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea “for important reasons”. The particulars of these reasons are not specified in the Code. A person who performs an abortion in the absence of an “important reason” is subject to up to three years’ imprisonment. However, a woman who consents to the performance of an abortion or who induces her own abortion is not held criminally responsible.

Although information on the application of the abortion provisions of the Criminal Code in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is difficult to obtain, reports suggest that abortion is permitted virtually on request, up to the seventh month of pregnancy, owing to the broad interpretation of the phrase “important reasons”. It has been reported that abortion is performed at provincial maternity hospitals free of charge.

So it appears that there is a law on the books. And, I suspect, the issue of whether an abortion is illegal rests on the interpretation of "important reasons".

Perhaps prostitutes and single women are thought not to have "important reasons", but married women, do.

If anyone has any information to add, it would be greatly appreciated.

It's a bit difficult to evaluate the quality of the information, given the anonymity of the sources, and the difficulty in obtaining more information.

However, this reinforces that Canada is the abortion champion of the world. At least North Korea has some regulation.