Korean obstetricians and gynecologists have declared to boycott all procedures of abortion in protest to the anti-abortion law. They emphasized that the government will have to take responsibility for causing chaos because it toughened administrative rules to punish abortion-performing doctors without any social consensus.
The Korean Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (KAOG) said all of its members would refuse to offer abortion procedures because the government defined them as “immoral medical practices,” at a news conference at the Korean Medical Association’s temporary hall in Yongsan, Seoul, on Tuesday.
|The Korean Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (KAOG) holds a news conference to announce that its member physicians would refuse to provide abortion procedures at the Korean Medical Association’s temporary hall in Yongsan, Seoul, Tuesday.|
The KAOG criticized the Ministry of Health and Welfare for recently amending rules to order a one-month suspension on the medical license of a doctor who terminates a fetus in violation of Article 270 of the Criminal Act. The group said the measure was too premature.
“The Criminal Act and the Mother and Child Health Act regarding the punishment of abortion need certain social consensus and they do not adequately reflect the reality,” the KAOG said. “The Constitutional Court is reviewing a constitutional appeal on whether abortion is unconstitutional. Thus, the government should postpone the administrative punishment against doctors until a social consensus is reached.”
The group went on to say that the current laws allow abortion when pregnant women have congenital anomalies and infectious diseases, including rubella that does not affect the fetus after the second trimester because the maternal diseases could cause birth defects.
However, it was nonsense to ban abortion when the fetus has congenital anomalies with a zero survival rate such as anencephaly, the KAOG said. Such prohibition causes tremendous pain for pregnant women who bear such fetus, it said.
The ob-gyn doctors also raised concerns that their boycott of all abortions may adversely affect the health of women who are seeking abortions for socioeconomic reasons. The KAOG plans to check the illegal distribution of abortion pill Mifegyne in Korea.
A one-month suspension of a medical license is almost equal to forcing a clinic-owning physician to shut the business down, the KAOG said. Such punishment is like stating abortion as an immoral act, disgracing ob-gyn doctors and women who decided to abort the baby inevitably, it added.
Won Young-seok, executive director at the KAOG, said, he received many phone calls from patients whether his clinic would provide abortion procedures or not, after the group’s abortion boycott.
“If the government calls ob-gyn doctors immoral, which doctor would see patients and perform procedures?” Won asked.
Kim Dong-seok, president of the KAOG, said the group would distribute posters that says, “We don’t perform abortion procedures, defined by the government as immoral medical acts,” to member doctors. Also, the group plans to monitor member physicians that attract patients for abortion through internet advertising or continue abortion procedures, he said.
“Which member would dare to risk a one-month suspension on medical license and go ahead with an abortion? Most of our members will participate in the group’s boycott,” Kim said. “However, I want to make it clear that the health and welfare ministry will have to take responsibility for all the confusion caused after the abortion boycott.”
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