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Abortion and the Voluntary Termination of Pregnancy

Abortion and the Voluntary Termination of Pregnancy

At one's own discretion, safely

Abortion and the Voluntary Termination of Pregnancy


Not all pregnancies lead to childbirth. Women can choose to end their pregnancy. Some may think this is wrong, and some countries may legally prohibit this choice, but nothing can stop the reality. Instead of a moral debate, we prefer to examine the situations and facts the undermine this issue. The focus is on women’s personal autonomy and how some take action to safely end their pregnancy.

A Women's Right to Choose The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Korea pronounced on April 11, 2019, that “the criminalization of abortion” Article, which criminally charges pregnant women and doctors who performed abortion and practices related to abortion, is nonconforming to the constitution, stating that “For a pregnant woman, autonomously deciding whether to maintain or terminate their pregnancy is a holistic decision made as a result of consideration based on their view of life and society.”

Women’s Body and Choice

The right to make decisions about your body completely and ultimately belongs to you alone. A person should be able to make the best decision for their body, health, and happiness. Women should be the final decision makers in their pregnancy as it has a tremendous influence on their life.

✔️ If You Have Decided to End A Pregnancy

Pregnant women can choose to give birth and raise their child, give up custody after delivery, or voluntarily end the pregnancy. If you have decided to end the pregnancy, that decision is valid and should be respected whether it’s due to health, financial problems, or otherwise. As long as you believe it’s the right decision for yourself.

  • What to Know Before an Abortion

Just because an abortion is legal in your country, does not mean that the process is simple and worry free for everyone. Put together what you need to know before getting the medical procedure. You need to be able to speak with confidence when discussing the procedure with a doctor.

☑️ What types of abortions are available?

☑️ What is the best method considering the condition of my body?

☑️ What is the cost? Does insurance cover the cost? Are there any additional costs?

☑️ Does it require consent from a guardian? Do I need to be accompanied by a guardian?

☑️ How long do I need to stay at the hospital?

☑️ Is a single visit sufficient for the procedure?

☑️ What preparations are needed for the procedure?

☑️ Would it be okay to be accompanied by someone?

☑️ What are the possible risks?

☑️ What measures are available in emergencies?

✔️Available Options

Medical procedures most commonly available for voluntary abortion are as follows. Find the best option for you through discussion with your medical team while considering the condition of your body, the week of pregnancy, and the risks.

  • Medicinal Abortions

💊 Misoprostol

Taking a misoprostol tablet can end a pregnancy. Misoprostol tablets are commonly sold under the names Cytotec, Gastec, Gastotec, Distol, MisoOne, Misprost and Misoprostol.

Oral misoprostol allows for the safe termination of pregnancies up to 12 weeks when used alone. According to a study by WHO, misoprostol, used alone, is effective in 94% of cases and has even better effects when combined with mifepristone.

Anesthesia is not required and the medication can be taken on your own with medical advice and if you have access to resources. The tablet contracts your uterus and expels any relevant bodily tissues.

Cramping and abdominal pain start one to four hours after taking the tablet. The pregnancy expulsion can last for up to two days. After the expulsion, ovulation starts three weeks later.

There can be side effects including vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, perspiration, and bleeding. Immediately seek medical treatment if symptoms are severe or if there are unexpected responses.

💊 Combination of Mifepristone and Misoprostol

Taking a tablet that contains both mifepristone and misoprostol can also effectively end a pregnancy. This drug is known as Mifegyne, Mifeprex, or RU-486, and has been included on the WHO’s core List of Essential Medicines since 2019. It was licensed for the use in abortions in Canada in 2017, in Ireland in 2018, and South Korea is currently undergoing processes to allow the import and sale.

According to WHO, the use of misoprostol in combination with mifepristone has a success rate of 98-100% when used within 8 weeks of pregnancy, 96-100% for 8 to 9 weeks, and 93-100% for 9 to 10 weeks.

It does not require anesthesia just like taking misoprostol alone and can be administered independently following a doctor’s guidance. The process of termination is identical to that of misoprostol alone.

There can be side effects including vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, and perspiration. Immediately seek medical treatment if symptoms are severe or if there are unexpected responses.

  • Surgical Abortions

🛏️ Manual Vacuum Aspiration, MVA

A narrow rod (suction curette) attached to a vacuum tube is inserted into the vagina and sucks out the pregnancy tissue. This procedure can generally be performed from early pregnancy to 12 weeks, and depending on conditions can be performed up to 16 weeks. The vacuum aspiration abortion can be performed if a medicinal abortion was not successful. The general success rate of surgical abortion is 99%.

The procedure is performed at a medical facility and takes five to ten minutes. The suction is not painful but there can be cramping due to contraction of the uterus. Local anesthesia could be used if needed. You may need to stay in the recovery room for some time to examine the progress and check the safety and effectiveness of the abortion.

There can be side effects including vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, and perspiration. Immediately seek medical treatment if symptoms are severe or if there are unexpected responses.

🛏️ Dilatation and evacuation or Curettage, D&E, D&C

In the second trimester, abortion can be performed by dilation and curettage (D&C) or dilation and evacuation (D&E). This procedure is usually recommended after 14 weeks of pregnancy.

Dilation of the cervix is needed to remove tissue larger than that in the early pregnancy. A drug such as laminaria or misoprostol is administered to dilate the uterus, then either vacuum aspiration or curettage is performed which scrapes inside the uterus using a spoon-shaped curette.

Dilation can take more than a day but vacuum aspiration or curettage can be performed within 30 minutes. There can be severe pain for D&C as it involves scraping the uterus. Local anesthesia or general anesthesia, if needed, could be included in the procedure.

There can be side effects including bleeding, cramping, and nausea. Immediately seek medical treatment if symptoms are severe or if there are unexpected physical reactions. Side effects can last up to two weeks after the procedure and more time is needed for a complete physical recovery.

✔️ When You Need Help

Most women say they have a feeling of relief after an abortion. However, there are still quite a number of women who experience negative feelings such as confusion, loss, and guilt. The negative perception and stigma from our society furthers the pain experienced by many women. Seek help from your partner, friends, and family who are reliable for emotional support. Express your emotions and release them in a healthy way. You can also seek help from agencies that stand in solidarity with women. These organizations have experience standing together with the many women who have experienced similar dilemmas and they can offer you their wisdom at any time.

Search for support organisations or counselling call centers in your country to get advice. Some international organisations like Marie Stopes International can also provide guidance.

한국성폭력상담소 02)338-5801~2 한국여성의전화 02)2263-6464~5 한국여성민우회 성폭력상담소 02)335-1858


  • Women can voluntarily decide to get an abortion.
  • Women could get support, encouragement, information, and advice from others. However, they should not be forced or interfered with when making their decision.

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