South Korea Ends Ban on Baby’s Gender Info to Stop Sex-Selection Abortions

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 31, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

South Korea Ends Ban on Saying Baby’s Gender to Stop Sex-Selection Abortions

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 31
, 2008

Seoul, South Korea ( — To help stop the practice of sex-selection abortions in the Asian nation, South Korea instituted a ban on physicians telling couples the gender of their unborn child. A Korean court overturned that ban Thursday saying the practice is no longer a problem.

South Korea’s Constitutional Court claims the nation has moved past the traditional cultural preference for sons that still causes sex-selection abortions in other nations like China and India.

The court also said, according to an AP report, that prohibiting doctors from revealing the sex of the baby is particularly restrictive in the late months of pregnancy. Jurists said women would not seek late-term abortions because the baby is a girl.

“The legislation’s purpose is recognized in that it helps resolve the sex-ratio imbalance and protects the fetuses’ right to life,” the ruling said, according to AP. “But it overly limits the basic rights of parents and physicians by placing a blanket ban through the latter half of pregnancy.”

The court also pointed to statistics showing the gender ratio in South Korea has returned to the normal male-female ratio nations without the sex-selection abortion phenomenon normally see.

“Considering this, we cannot but question whether the sex-ratio imbalance is a serious social problem and whether the fetus gender notification is serving as a cause for abortion,” the court said.

The current ban calls for a three year prison term and fines, but the court said the law should be amended to allow doctors to share the sex of the baby in the later half of pregnancy.

As they routinely do in other nations, doctors in South Korea have come up with inventive ways to get around the ban.

They often tell prospective parents their baby is "cute" or "energetic" to reveal the sex, provide baby toys that are pink or blue or give away pieces of candy indicative of the gender of the baby.

This week, a leading pro-life group that monitors international issues called on pro-abortion activists to do more to stop sex-selection abortions in Asia but also a new trend seen in the United States.


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