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S. Korean court rules anti-abortion law unconstitutional - Xi

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SEOUL, April 11 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's constitutional court on Thursday ruled that the 66-year-old anti-abortion law was unconstitutional, urging the parliament to amend it by the end of next year.

The court ruled by 7-2 that the anti-termination law, which was enacted in 1953, was against the constitution as it infringed on a woman's right to make a free choice.

Under the law, both a woman who undergoes an abortion surgery and a physician who performs the surgery are jailed or fined.

The law was enacted to protect the fetus' right to life, but calls mounted to protect a woman's right to make a free choice as the society changed. Those who were raped and forcibly pregnant had no other choice under the law.

In the latest ruling in 2012, the constitutional court saw the anti-abortion law as constitutional.

Under the fresh court ruling, the National Assembly was required to revise the 66-year-old law. Local media reports speculated that the parliament could allow the termination in an early stage of pregnancy.

If the assembly fails to amend the law by the end of 2020, it will be automatically repealed from 2021.

KEY WORDS: South Korea

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