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South Korea: Doctors Can Disclose Gender of an Embryo

(Sept. 5, 2008) The Constitutional Court of South Korea ruled on July 31, 2008, that a Medical Law provision that bans doctors from telling parents the gender of their unborn babies is unconstitutional. The purpose of the provision is to remove gender imbalance and protect the lives of unborn babies by preventing gender-related abortions. Korean people have traditionally preferred baby boys. The Court decided that imposition of the ban throughout the entire pregnancy, even at a stage when it is impossible to carry out abortions, is excessive and that the provision infringes on the freedom of medical doctors' professional activities and the parents' right to know. Based on the ruling, the National Assembly is obliged to revise the Medical Law by December 31, 2009, but the current law will remain effective until then. (Embryo Sex Test Ban Unconstitutional, CHOSUNILBO [online version, in English], Aug. 1, 2008, available at