Abortion Pill Protest in Seoul
On August 26 th, 125 women swallowed the abortion pill in defiance of the restrictive abortion laws in South Korea. Even though abortion is illegal in South Korea, 125 women have an abortion every hour. The protest took place in front of Boshingak in the center of Seoul. It was organized by the Korean feminist organizations Femidangdang and Baumealame, in collaboration with Women on Waves and Women on Web. The facebook post announcing the action and calling for mobilization was censored by Facebook and removed.
The protest was shortly after the Health Ministry announced a new rule, which enables the authorities to suspend a medical license for one month for performing an abortion. The new rule went into effect on Aug. 17, and on the same day, abortion was included in the list of what the government legally defines as “immoral medical actions,” along with dispensing medications past their date of expiration and committing sexual harassment against patients, among other actions.
Only 2 days after the Abortion Pill protest, on august 28, 2018 one of the biggest professional organizations of obstetricians and gynecologists in South Korea announced its members have discontinued performing abortions, except legally allowed procedures, in spite of existing demand in protest of the government’s latest law revision that imposes harsher punishments on doctors who perform the illegal but common procedure in the country.
An article in the Korea Herald quoted Kim Dong-suk, the head of the Korean College of Ob & Gyn, an organization representing some 2,000 obstetricians and gynecologists. “We apologize to the citizens, and especially (the women) who will be affected by our decision, but we want to make it clear that the Ministry of Health and Welfare is responsible for this situation, and other upcoming consequences, which we think are far from ideal,” Kim said.
It also quoted dr. Rebecca Gomperts: “Until abortion is legalized in Korea, Women on Web will be there for all women in need of help.”