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Editing South Korea

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{| class="wikitable" style="width:200px; border:1px solid black;float:right"
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[[File:Flag of South Korea.svg.png|300px | thumb|right|]]
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|colspan="8" style="text-align:center"|[[File:Flag of South Korea.svg.png|300px | thumb|right|]]
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|-
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| '''Contraception: Over-the-Counter'''
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| condoms, pills
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|-
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| '''Contraception: Prescription/Clinic Required'''
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| IUD, implant, ring (call pharmacy in advance to request)
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|-
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| '''Emergency Contraception'''
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| prescription required
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|-
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| '''STIs'''
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| no travel restrictions; HIV-positive foreigner deported
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|-
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| '''Menstrual Products'''
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| pads, tampons, cups
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|-
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| '''Abortion Law'''
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| legal in restricted circumstances (law is in transition & may change)
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|-
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| '''LGBTQ Laws'''
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| homosexuality legal; gender change legal
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|-
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| '''Related Pages'''
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| [[Seoul]]
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|-
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|}
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South Korea has fantastic and varied medical services. Contraceptives can be purchased at pharmacies over-the-counter though you need a doctor's prescription for emergency contraception. While many facilities offer STD tests, it is important to exercise caution and choose anonymous testing centers. If you are a foreigner and test positive for HIV/AIDS or syphilis, you will most likely be deported from South Korea. For many years, abortion was illegal, but the laws are currently in a state of transition (see "Abortion" section below for details). As of April 2019, abortion is still illegal in South Korea. The laws are expected to change in 2020.  
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South Korea has fantastic and varied medical services. Contraceptives can be purchased at pharmacies over-the-counter though you need a doctor's prescription for emergency contraception. While many facilities offer STD tests, it is important to exercise caution and choose anonymous testing centers. If you are a foreigner and test positive for HIV/AIDS or syphilis, you will most likely be deported from South Korea. While abortion is illegal, there are accounts of women secretly obtaining abortions. If you are pregnant and have the means to travel, it is advisable to seek abortions elsewhere, such as in mainland China, Hong Kong or Japan.  
  
 
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In South Korea, you can purchase condoms and birth control pills at pharmacies without a prescription.<ref>[http://ocsotc.org/wp-content/uploads/worldmap/worldmap.html Global Oral Contraception Availability]</ref> <ref>[http://freethepill.org/where-on-earth/ Free the Pill: Where on Earth?]</ref> You can buy many birth control brands, like Mercilon, without a prescription at pharmacies (if you ask the pharmacist for it). However, some contraceptive brands may require a prescription. For example, a female backpacker said that South Korean pharmacists told her that she needed a prescription for Yasmin. However, for other forms of birth control, such as implants, injectables, and IUDs, you may need to directly visit a hospital or clinic to obtain them.
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Contraceptives are completely legal in South Korea, and they can typically be purchased without a prescription.<ref>[http://ocsotc.org/wp-content/uploads/worldmap/worldmap.html Global Oral Contraception Availability]</ref> You can buy many birth control brands, like Mercilon, without a prescription at pharmacies (if you ask the pharmacist for it). However, some contraceptive brands may require a prescription. For example, a female backpacker said that South Korean pharmacists told her that she needed a prescription for Yasmin.
  
 
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In 2012, President Pak Geun-Hye and her conservative government announced that the Korean Food & Drug Administration was considering reclassification of birth control pills, which would make the pills prescription-only. This caused public outrage and wide online discussion of the issue. Three months later, the proposal was dropped. It was decided to put the reclassification on hold for three years -- and, to this day, it seems to remain on hold. As reported in Korea Bang, "Asides from the 'woman’s right to choose' argument, one of the reasons Korean women get upset over the issue is perhaps cultural: unmarried Korean women rarely visit a gynaecologist. Even when seriously ill, a visit to a gynaecology clinic would be reluctant for fear of the disapproving stares around them. That’s not to mention the social pressure on Korean women to remain sexually naïve."<ref>[http://www.koreabang.com/2012/stories/law-on-contraceptive-pill-changes.html Law on Contraceptive Pill Changes]</ref>
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In 2012, President Pak Geun-Hye and his conservative government announced that the Korean Food & Drug Administration was considering reclassification of birth control pills, which would make the pills prescription-only. This caused public outrage and wide online discussion of the issue. Three months later, the proposal was dropped. It was decided to put the reclassification on hold for three years -- and, to this day, it seems to remain on hold. As reported in Korea Bang, "Asides from the 'woman’s right to choose' argument, one of the reasons Korean women get upset over the issue is perhaps cultural: unmarried Korean women rarely visit a gynaecologist. Even when seriously ill, a visit to a gynaecology clinic would be reluctant for fear of the disapproving stares around them. That’s not to mention the social pressure on Korean women to remain sexually naïve."<ref>[http://www.koreabang.com/2012/stories/law-on-contraceptive-pill-changes.html Law on Contraceptive Pill Changes]</ref>
  
 
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* The cost of pads/sanitary napkins (the most common menstrual product in South Korea) is expensive, and the prices continue to rise. On GMarket (the largest ecommerce site in South Korea), a 10-pack of pads costs 2,700원 , as of December 2017. This is more expensive than in many other developed countries. Meanwhile, some pad brands have experienced up to a 42% price increase between 2016 and 2017. To learn more about concerns related to pricing, click [https://qz.com/995025/an-outcry-over-diy-period-pads-has-sparked-a-national-menstruation-conversation-in-korea/ here].
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* The cost of pads/sanitary napkins (the most common menstrual product in South Korea) is expensive, and the prices continue to rise. On GMarket (the largest ecommerce site in Korea), a 10-pack of pads costs 2,700원 , as of December 2017. This is more expensive than in many other developed countries. Meanwhile, some pad brands have experienced up to a 42% price increase between 2016 and 2017. To learn more about concerns related to pricing, click [https://qz.com/995025/an-outcry-over-diy-period-pads-has-sparked-a-national-menstruation-conversation-in-korea/ here].
  
 
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==Gynecological Exams== <!--T:50-->
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'''''UPDATE (April 2019):''' In April 2019, the Constitutional Court in South Korea ruled that the current abortion laws are unconstitutional. This is a victory for pro-choice activists in South Korea, as well as the majority of South Korean women who support liberalization of the laws. So, what's next? Lawmakers will need to develop new abortion laws by 2020 --and, if they don't, the current law will become null and void. We will update this page as changes develop. However, as of April 2019, the current laws are still in place.<ref>[https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/11/world/asia/south-korea-abortion-ban-ruling.html South Korea Rules Anti-Abortion Law Unconstitutional]</ref>''
 
 
 
Abortion is illegal in South Korea, except in special cases. While the original law in 1953 restricted all abortion, this was changed in 1973 under the Maternal and Child Health Law. With these changes, an abortion could be performed by a physician if 1) the pregnant woman or her spouse suffer from a hereditary mental/physical disease specified by Presidential Decree 2) the pregnant woman or her spouse suffer from a communicable disease specified by Presidential Decree 3) the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest 4) the continuation of the pregnancy threatens the woman's life. In all other cases, abortion is illegal and a woman who induces her own abortion may be subject to imprisonment for one year or a fine. Medical personnel who illegally induce an abortion may face up to two years of imprisonment.  
 
Abortion is illegal in South Korea, except in special cases. While the original law in 1953 restricted all abortion, this was changed in 1973 under the Maternal and Child Health Law. With these changes, an abortion could be performed by a physician if 1) the pregnant woman or her spouse suffer from a hereditary mental/physical disease specified by Presidential Decree 2) the pregnant woman or her spouse suffer from a communicable disease specified by Presidential Decree 3) the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest 4) the continuation of the pregnancy threatens the woman's life. In all other cases, abortion is illegal and a woman who induces her own abortion may be subject to imprisonment for one year or a fine. Medical personnel who illegally induce an abortion may face up to two years of imprisonment.  
  

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