Abortion law North Korea

No regulation on abortion


     The Criminal Code of March 1950 states that abortion is allowed in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea “for important reasons”. The particulars of these reasons are not specified in the Code.  A person who performs an abortion in the absence of an “important reason” is subject to up to three years’ imprisonment.  However, a woman who consents to the performance of an abortion or who induces her own abortion is not held criminally responsible. 

     Although information on the application of the abortion provisions of the Criminal Code in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is difficult to obtain, reports suggest that abortion is permitted virtually on request, up to the seventh month of pregnancy, owing to the broad interpretation of the phrase “important reasons”.  It has been reported that abortion is performed at provincial maternity hospitals free of charge.

     Family planning programmes have been operative in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea since the early 1970s. Such programmes are integrated into maternal and child health services and are administered by the Ministry of Public Health. Information, education and communication activities are important elements of the programme. The Ministry of Public Health provides contraceptives and consultations in the obstetrics/gynaecology departments of all hospitals and clinics.  These services are also provided through the “section doctor system”, whereby one physician is responsible for the health of a group of neighbourhood families. The intrauterine device is the method used by 80-90 per cent of all contraceptive users in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. However, locally produced IUDs supplied by the country’s family planning programme had high failure rates and caused serious side effects; consequently, international assistance was provided for the importation of IUDs.

*Information above has been retrieved from the official UN website. Full text can be found here.

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