On Thursday, South Korea’s Constitutional Court reversed the nation’s nearly 66-year ban on abortions.
As The Daily Wire’s Paul Bois previously reported, the 1953 law “effectively banned the procedure in all cases except for rape, incest, and the life of the mother … [and] also permitted punishments for both women and doctors who procured abortions. Women were also required to have spousal approval in the rare exceptions where abortions were permitted.”
The South Korean law regarding abortion states in part:
A woman who procures her own miscarriage through the use of drugs or other means shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than one year or by a fine not exceeding two million won…
A doctor, herb doctor, midwife, pharmacist, or druggist who procures the miscarriage of a woman upon her request or with her consent, shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than two years.
The exceptions can be read here.
The Constitutional Court’s 7-2 ruling on Thursday was the result of a case in which a doctor was “charged with conducting 69 illegal abortions,” according to Reuters.
Some of the reasoning behind the court’s decision is appallingly illogical.
In the ruling, the court stated: “Embryos completely depend on the mother’s body for their survival and development, so it cannot be concluded that they are separate, independent living beings entitled to right to life.”
Let’s follow the trajectory of the court’s opinion to its logical end. If an embryo is not an independent human being because it relies on its mother in order to develop and survive, what else is not a human being?
A 1-year-old infant must be fed, changed, and cared for. It depends on its mother or caretaker in order to develop and survive. A child or adult with a moderate to severe disability requires round-the-clock care in order to develop and survive. An individual who has fallen into a coma will often require the support of machines in order to survive.
Are the aforementioned people inhuman simply because they need assistance to stay healthy and alive? Of course not, and no rational person would come to such a conclusion. These people are just as human as any mentally and physically independent adult, and therefore just as intrinsically valuable.
However, if one wants to be intellectually consistent and agree with the Korean court, which argues that because embryos are dependent on their mothers for a period of between six to nine months, they are not to be considered “separate, independent living beings entitled to right to life,” one must continue to walk the logical path set up by the court, and admit that newborns, small children, the disabled, and the comatose are also not “independent living beings entitled to right to life.”
It may seem obvious that our intrinsic value must not be determined by our stage of development or on the amount of assistance we may need due to physical or mental disadvantages, but there are those who believe in this arbitrary standard.
The Korean court has added its name to the list of people and institutions that, due to logical incoherence, have opened a back door for any who seek to devalue various forms of human life.