As the number of people who signed the online petition to decriminalize abortion exceeded the required 200,000, the presidential office announced on October 30 that it will soon release an official response.
On October 30, the online petition to repeal abortion laws and to legalize Mifegyne ended with 235,372 petitioners. Mifegyne is an abortion pill which works similar to an early spontaneous abortion.
“Currently, Republic of Korea is a country with low birthrate,” the original petitioner writes. “However, unwanted pregnancy is a tragedy to the one who is giving birth, the baby, and the state.”
“Furthermore, the current law punishes only women for an abortion, whereas pregnancy isn’t something a woman can do by herself,” the petition continued.
In Korea, women who seek an abortion face up to a year in jail or a 2 million won ($1,780) fine. Those who perform an abortion face a prison term up to two years.
As abortion is currently illegal in Korea, a significant number of women who got pregnant against their will commit themselves to illegal surgeries or fake abortion pills.
On the last day of the petition’s deadline, about 100,000 people signed to surpass the 200,000 required to hear from the presidential office. According to Moon Jae-in administration’s pledge to respond to petitions with more than 200,000 backers, senior government officials would clarify the official stance within 30 days.
By Heewon Kim