Park, Su-yeon, Heo, Won-jun 기자2017.03.03 17:18:23
There has been a heated debate, not only in the West, but also in Korea, on abortion and its various aspects. In December 2016, in Seoul, some people held demonstrations in a Korea’s “black protest” movement, requesting full legalization of abortion. They also requested that the Korean government withdraw laws that could increase penalties for doctors who perform illegal abortions. In order to see how KNU students think about this, The KNU Times interviewed four KNU students and conducted a survey about the issue.
➊ Shin, Myeong-hwak Dept.
Economics&Trade, Senior, Korea
Q1) What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of abortion?
➊ When I heard the word ‘abortion’, I thought of the pain involved. In my opinion, we should think about what is more important, parent’s rights or the rights of the unborn. Because both rights are crucial, it would be tough to make the decision. Although my opinion maybe socially unacceptable, I think that it is an individual’s choice whether to have an abortion or not. In order to make the right choices, high-quality compulsory sex-education should be provided for all students.
➋ The first thing that comes to my mind is that this issue is crucial. Second, it is a big and very hard decision. No woman wants an abortion. No woman actually wants to have to make that choice, but it is a choice she should be able to make by herself.
➌ In my case, the word ‘controversy’ comes to my mind when I hear the word ‘abortion’. The biggest issue of abortion is whether the fetus is a living human being or not. I think there should be a standard to identify when a fetus becomes a livng human being. The abortion issue is also a hot potato in the U.S. and we can easily see many protests or rallies about abortion.
➍ ‘Single mother’, ‘Unmarried’, ‘Minors’, ‘Unwanted pregnancy’ are some words that come to my mind when I hear the word ‘abortion’. Abortion is actually a very sensitive subject and hard to discuss with other people. Few of my friends who consider abortion are able to express all their troubles because of the eyes of society. One day, I hope we will have a warm atmosphere in which to freely discuss abortion.
Q2) On the assumption that abortion is legalized, if you or your girlfriend become pregnant, what would you choose: birth or abortion?
➊ I think that, by establishing systematic tools on national levels, consultation as well as sex education should precede making big decisions such as abortion. If my girlfriend is pregnant, I would consider abortion, due to the possible economic hardship and the unfavorable social environment. But, above all, I would get advice from a consultant. The choice of abortion and childbirth should be made after sufficient counseling, and should not be determined without due thought.
➋ It depends on my partner. If I'm in a relationship with a man I want to live with, I would discuss it with my partner, and decide what to do. In my opinion, it is a big decision and being a single mom is super hard not only for her but also for her child, because it's important to make your children stay mentally healthy. Giving birth at my age can change and even ruin my life and future. Even though it is a difficult situation for me to have a baby, I would not consider an abortion.
➌ First, I think the current situation that my girlfriend and I are in is the most important thing. I think it would be worse if I were a student because it is hard to feed or give love and attention to a baby. However, as I am 35 years old now, I will choose to give birth.
➍ Surely, I would choose abortion. The first reason is for my life. I’m still a student and there are many things that I want to do. The second reason is the environment. Giving birth and becoming a parent requires huge responsibility and it is also important for kids to have a mother who is financially and emotionally ready for a child.
In total, 243 KNU students participated in the survey, including 160 women and 83 men. 79% of respondents agreed with legalizing abortion, while 16% of them disagreed.
Q3) Last October, some people demanded full legalization for abortion, carrying signs saying "My Body, My Choice". They insisted that this contributes greatly to extending women's rights. What do you think about this?
➊ I agree with the statement, because women have human rights. I am in favor of abortion, on the premise that they decide to have an abortion after careful consideration about the rights of the unborn. An illegal operation can damage their health and even make them unable to have a baby. I think this problem can be solved easily by legalizing abortion.
➋ In my opinion, it depends on which country you live in. In my country, Uzbekistan, most people have two or three children and they just cannot afford to have a fourth baby. Thus, they must have right to choose to have an abortion. If a woman is not sure whether she is able to take care of that child, then she should have an abortion. It's not the business of government or others. It's her choice and her body. There are hundreds and thousands of children who are suffering by being without parents or having parents who do not care for them.
➌ It could contribute to extending women’s rights. I think what a woman does with her body is her business. In addition, I heard that there is hatred between men and women in Korea. I think the most important thing is to promote equality between men and women and respect each other first, and then we could solve the problem.
➍ I think the full legalization of abortion would be a positive sign for women’s rights. Anti-abortion activists believe that a fetus is a human being and that abortion is murder. However, I want to say to them that the pregnant woman is also human being and she has a choice to live her life. In conclusion, I hope that lawmakers make a bill in women’s shoes and that this bill will be a small step for extending women’s rights.
The KNU Times