College professors from various theological fields Thursday called for abolishing the abortion law in Korea – an issue brought to light by an online petition to the presidential Blue House that gathered 230,000 signatures in September.
“Opposing abortion is not the only correct answer in bioethics,” the association of bioethics, philosophy and theology professors that are in favor of legalizing abortions said in a statement.
Women who use drugs, surgery or any other methods to induce abortions are subject to criminal punishment in Korea. Abortion is only allowed in cases of genetic mental or physical disorder, infectious disease, rape, sex abuse or health concerns of either the mother or the baby.
The group of professors is the latest to state their stance on whether abortions should be legalized. Christian groups, gynecologists, and women’s rights groups, among others put forth their position on the issue in the past two months.
The professors argued that many developed countries have approached the issue of abortion with different regulations and systems through comprehensive social discussion. In contrast, Korea has continually enforced provisions enacted in 1953 that made abortions illegal, hurting not only women but the professional ethics of medical practitioners.
The group notably expressed “deep regret” over some bioethicists that misconstrued bioethics as a field that condemns abortion, saying that while they are entitled to their own opinion as bioethicists, such behavior stunts the growth of both bioethics and social discussion.
“Saying making abortion illegal is the only correct ethical and theological method is a very narrow and one-sided stance that not only obstructs reaching a rational solution to this complicated problem but also hinders the development of bioethics, philosophy, and theology,” the group said.
Punishing abortions by law is far from the principal position of bioethics, the group argued. In Korea, prominent bioethics and even Christian bioethics scholars presented various ethical justification of abortion, they said.
All aside, the group argued no benefit arises from condemning a woman who has already suffered by going through an abortion by leveling additional legal penalties.
“We hope that our society will be able to seek a rational solution to social problems and improve the system through active discussion away from the dichotomy of good and evil,” the statement added.
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