Women’s rights groups in the Gyeongsang provinces on Tuesday condemned a provincial police agency for investigating 26 women on whether they had abortions.
Members of the women’s rights groups, including the Gyeongnam Women’s United Association, said they held a meeting with officials at the South Gyeongsang Province Police Agency on Monday and delivered a letter of complaint.
“We denounce the police for conducting investigations to track down women who may have had abortions, which is against humanity, using their private medical information,” the women’s rights groups said.
“Amid rising demands for abolishment of the law that makes abortion illegal, police appear to be completely unaware of the circumstances.”
Their protest came after a police station in the province was revealed to have checked whether 26 women who had visited an obstetrician in the region had abortions. According to police, they were granted a warrant last month to acquire personal information of the 26 women from the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service, after a petition against the obstetrician was received in September.
“We are fully aware that conflicting sentiments exist on abortion,” an officer from the police agency said. “We did ask the 26 women if they had abortions because we received the petition. But we only questioned those found to have had an abortion, as testifiers. We did not arrest them.”
Korea introduced the anti-abortion law in 1953, and the termination of pregnancy is only permissible if the mother faces serious health risks or in cases of rape, incest or hereditary disorders. Even in such cases, abortion is prohibited after the first 24 weeks of pregnancy.
Women’s rights group Korean WomenLink on Thursday issued a statement criticizing the police.
“We cannot hide our fury over the actions of the police at a time when society strongly calls for abolishment of the anti-abortion law and the Constitutional Court is reviewing the constitutionality of the law,” the group said Thursday.
By Jo He-rim (firstname.lastname@example.org)