Students seek Pope Francis’ help over South Korean abortion law

Students from six universities in South Korea have sent a letter to Pope Francis seeking support for the campaign against their government’s plan to allow abortion in the country.

The Association of Pro-Life Students in Korea, together with some church leaders, handed the letter to Archbishop Alfred Xuereb, Apostolic Nuncio to Korea, last week.

The papal nuncio said he would deliver the message to the Vatican this week.

In the letter, Anna Choo Hee-Jin, president of the students’ association, appealed to Pope Francis for support in their campaign against a law that she said threatens the sanctity of human life.

“We know very well that our human effort only is not enough in this fight to protect life. What we need most of all are prayer and fortitude,” read the students’ letter reported CNA.

Hee-Jin said that with pressure coming from women’s groups insisting on abortion as a “right to choose,” the South Korean government seems “not in favor for protecting the newborn.”

In April last year, the country’s Constitutional Court ruled that the abortion ban was “unconstitutional,” urging the National Assembly to revise the abortion law until the end of 2020.

Abortion in South Korea is prohibited except in the cases of rape, incest, genetic disease, or risk to the mother’s health.

Pro-life advocates said they are afraid that the lifting of the ban will result in unregulated abortion, which they claimed is “on demand.”

“Women will be able to have an abortion without any restriction of the law regardless of the period of pregnancies,” read the letter.

The students also sent Pope Francis an outline of the proposed legislation that includes recommendations from the Committee for Life of the Archdiocese of Seoul.

The Catholic Church in South Korea has been calling for “mandatory counseling for women considering abortion, financial responsibility requirements for biological fathers, and the legal ability for mothers to deliver anonymously due to the cultural stigma surrounding unwed pregnancies.”

These recommendations were presented by Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-Jung, archbishop of Seoul, to South Korean President Moon Jae-In in a meeting on Aug. 20, reported CNA.

On Aug. 13, Cardinal Yeom told the South Korean Ministry of Justice that “every human being is the subject of the constitutional right to life.”

The prelate said the recommendations to revise the existing abortion law “is unfair,” adding that “it implies a complete abandonment of the state’s obligation to protect the life of the unborn child.”

In 2010, the country recorded 168,738 abortions and 470,171 live births.

During the papal visit to South Korea in 2014, Pope Francis prayed at a cemetery for aborted children established by the Congregation of Kkottongnae.

Brother James Sang-Hyun Shin of the Congregation of Kkottongnae told the CNA in a report that the country’s current administration “suggests a model of inclusivity.”

The religious brother, however, said that the “inclusivity” policy of the government only includes “infants to the elderly.”

“In the policies of a government that claims to guarantee support for all people in all stages of their lives, the unborn children, the start of life, are excluded,” said Brother Shin.

For more than 500 days already, since March 12, 2019, at least 40 pro-life advocates are taking three shifts every day to protest against the Constitutional Court’s decision to allow unregulated abortion.

Brother Shin said they have been holding a “one-person demonstration daily” in front of the Constitutional Court, Congress, and the Blue House “to protest against the Court’s decision and urging Congress and the Administration to legislate life-respecting laws.”

On Sept. 5, pro-life advocates are set to stage a virtual “March for Life.” Participants are encouraged to” individually walk and submit photos and videos of their march.”

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