Korean J Obstet Gynecol.  2010 Jun;53(6):467-474. 10.5468/kjog.2010.53.6.467.

The medicolegal understanding regarding fetocide in the criminal law and artificial termination in the mother and child health law

  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medical School, Jeju National University, Jeju; Legal Commitee, Korean Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Seoul, Korea. art3255@hanmail.net


Recently, in our society, there have been a lot of talks about fetocide and artificial abortion. I suppose it would be natural in a way. Because the very problem of fetocide and artificial abortion has been always there in our society and various concerns about it still hover above our lives. Fetocide in the criminal law, by legal definition, means the artificial evacuation of growing fetus from mother's uterus or killing the fetus in the mother's uterus. Meanwhile, artificial termination in the mother and child health law, by legal definition, means artificial evacuation of growing fetus and gestational by-products through medical procedure within such a early period in fetal life unable to survive outside the mother's uterus. A couple of jurisprudential reasoning about fetocide and artificial abortion could be possibly constituted in accordance with the legal point of view. But, in the scene of medical practice of Obstetrics and Gynecology, there would be very little difference in terms of criminal charges. It is concluded that both occasions of any artificial abortion with no allowable reasons and any artificial abortion with allowable reasons committed in the period beyond 24 weeks of gestation are to be punished by the current criminal law.


Fetocide; The criminal law; Artificial termination; The mother and child health law; Medicolegal understanding
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