What we should keep in mind about abortion

By Yurim Jin

Published Date: 2021 / 05 / 16

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Today, the debate over abolition regulations never seems to end and often there is no particular progress in changing the situation. As I looked at the various clashes between whether abortion should be prohibited or not arose, I noticed that there was something problematic. Each side, whether it was advocating abortion or not, had its own pursuit between the two values: the rights of the woman(mother) and the life of the baby. Though their pursuits were different, both sides seemed to agree on the basic premise that abortion issues are a matter of ‘choosing’ between the right of the mother and the baby. If the society values the mother’s rights over the life of the baby, then abortion would be allowed. If not, the society would make abortion illegal. This is what people commonly think about abortion. However, the debate over abortion is not necessarily a tug-of-war between mother and baby, and in more cases is far more complicated. Therefore, abortion cannot be simplified to a single question. “Who is more important: the mom or the baby?”

The reason why people should not be judging right or wrong between the baby and the mother is that they are inevitably entangled with each other. Therefore, protecting the baby’s life also means protecting the life of the mother. This is why prohibiting abortioon cannot directly lead to the protection of the baby. I first thought about this perspective as I read the final decision of the Constitutional Court regarding abortion laws in Korea. Several judges have mentioned that “the security of the woman is in other words the security of the baby and the interests of the two are in alignment with each other. Therefore we can not find a desirable solution when we keep fixing the relationship between the mother and the baby as somewhat similar to that of an offender and victim.”

Let’s say a woman does not want to have a baby or is not in a situation where she can normally serve as a mother. Despite all these circumstances, given that the abolition law exists, this woman would have to take the burden of raising the baby no matter what. And this not only harms the woman’s rights, but it also seriously violates the baby’s protection since the mother’s state is directly connected to the baby’s issue more deeply and be careful not to make hasty judgements. Allowing abortion could actually make a healthier and open environment for desperate women to safely handle their burden together with doctors and supporters. In addition, it might prevent a baby somewhere in this world from living a devastating life with a helpless mother. Making the baby born doesn’t always mean protecting the baby’s rights. The same thing can be applied to prohibiting abortion. Maybe it could preserve the woman’s rights by allowing the man and woman to obligatorily bear the responsibility of being in labor. Various judgements can be made on each side. And even though there might never be a perfect answer for abolition issues, we should always try to see the unseen aspects of it. There should be different values mentioned whenever we talk about abortion. The more the debate becomes diverse, the more we are able to protect the excluded. That is how we can make a better world for both the mother and the baby.

Works Cited
형법 제269조 제1항 등 위헌소원 (2019. 4. 11. 2017헌바127) 그 중 재판관 유남석, 재판관 서기석, 재판관 이선애, 재판관 이영진의 헌법불합치의견 (헌재 2012. 8. 23. 2010헌바402 결정의 반대의견 참조)

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