South Korean Catholics Protest Abortion

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by William Mahoney, Ph.D.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  August 27, 2020   

More than 500 days of unbroken pro-life vigil

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SEOUL, South Korea (ChurchMilitant.com) - South Korean Catholics are staying strong in a fight against a seemingly inevitable pro-abortion law in the works.

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Pope Francis and Bp. Alfred Xuereb

Protesting continuously for over a year, 40 South Korean Catholics are taking shifts demonstrating outside government buildings in defense of preborn children. The group began protesting on March 12, 2019, in anticipation of the Constitutional Court's pro-abortion ruling in April 2019.

The court ended the country's ban on abortion in most cases and gave South Korea's National Assembly until the end of 2020 to revise current abortion law, which allows the killing of the unborn in cases of rape, incest and where the health of the mother is jeopardized by the pregnancy.

"Before the Constitutional Court, Congress and the Blue House, we have been holding a one-person demonstration daily for over 500 days now, to protest against the court's decision and urging Congress and the administration to legislate life-respecting laws," said Br. James Sang-Hyun Shin, a medical doctor.

The court ended the country's ban on abortion in most cases.

The "Blue House" is an informal description for the executive office and official residence of the president. The official Korean word for the Blue House, Cheongwadae, literally means "pavilion of blue tiles." The building is located in the capital, Seoul.

The Association of Pro-Life Students in Korea is also engaged in the struggle for every human being's right to life. The group delivered letters to Korea's Apostolic Nuncio, Bp. Alfred Xuereb, to inform the Vatican of the situation. Brother Shin says the group sent the letters to inform the pope, "earnestly asking for a message for Korean society."

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During his trip to South Korea in 2014, Pope Francis visited a graveyard for aborted children, a graveyard made by the Congregation of Kkottongnae, where Br. Shin is a religious.

The student association holds workshops weekly through Zoom to discuss abortion legislation in different countries, as well as scientific and medical research on abortion.

Church Hierarchy's Involvement

Father Hugo Park Jung-woo, secretary general for Seoul archdiocese's Committee for Life, expressed worry on Monday that the revision could legalize abortion on demand.

The upcoming law 'will inevitably lead to a culture of belittling life, and many women will suffer from their post-abortion traumas.'

"The country has the duty to protect the life of all people," he told Catholic News Agency. "We can raise our voices to make new laws or new policies to help women to choose delivery instead of abortion. That is our strategy."

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Fr. Hugo Park Jung-woo in March for Life in South Korea

Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung of the Seoul archdiocese delivered an official statement this month to the Ministry of Justice in opposition to the upcoming legislation.

Brother Shin said Cdl. Soo-jung decries the lifting of the abortion ban and urges that "the government actively fulfill its duties to protect the lives of the unborn by enacting laws and policies that will promote a safe environment for women to give birth to their children."

In line with the cardinal's appeal to the government, Br. Shin commented that the upcoming law "will inevitably lead to a culture of belittling life, and many women will suffer from their post-abortion traumas, carrying their burden for the rest of their lives."

If the law permits abortion on demand, Shin says, "The Church will have to lead the way in striving towards an environment in which one will choose to give birth, an environment in which abortion will not be chosen."

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