Monday, January 04, 2010

An unexpected suprise from overseas

The Donga Ilbo reported the other day that a girl who went overseas for language study came home and not long after was often vomiting in the mornings. When she went to the hospital it turned out she came home from overseas with a little surprise for her parents – a pregnancy. The reason this case stands out is that she’s an 11 year-old fifth grader. At the camp last summer, due to ‘curiosity’ she had a relationship with a middle school boy.

The parents tried to get her an abortion, but they were refused. The chairman of the Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology said that abortions are only for worst cases, and though there is more of a risk for minors, the fact that she wasn’t raped and her life isn’t endangered makes her ineligible for an abortion; the very young age of the mother is not a good reason to allow an abortion.

Her mother will raise the girl’s baby as a family relation. The family moved away from their neighborhood to avoid prying eyes. The girl quit school and is staying home to prepare for the birth. Out of fear of possible rumors they have cut off contact with the boy’s family.

Every school vacation more than 200,000 people leave the country for short-term language courses. Students typically stay in ‘resorts,’ dorms or local home stays. For those living in dorms or resorts, 24 hour monitoring by teachers is possible, but it’s difficult at home stays. One official noted that based on the type of accommodation and having one teacher supervising 10-15 students, various incidents may be reduced.

As Korea Beat reports, this made the top ten most read naver articles of last week.

There are several things that could be brought up here. It's interesting, considering how common abortion is in Korea - despite it being illegal - that the girl would be turned down. Or, that anyone would be turned down. I'd tend to think that 11 years old is physically rather young to be having a child, and don't really see why it wouldn't be considered risky. I'd imagine she'd have a C-section. At any rate, another good reason to start sex education early. Or to start sex education, period. There's been hand-wringing going on over teaching it for 15 years, especially since a middle school girl gave birth in school after a secret pregnancy in 1996.

It's also interesting the lengths the family is going to to avoid people around them knowing that their daughter is pregnant. Needless to say, if the education system (and the 'must have an impossibly high TOEFL score to get a promotion' system of many companies) didn't encourage, as the article says, 200,000 people to leave the country every year, this wouldn't have happened.

(Hat tip to Benjamin Wagner)

11 comments:

Sperwer said...

It's obvious that THIS pregnancy of THIS wouldn't have occurred but for the overseas trip. But is that all you meant?

Sperwer said...

THIS girl

matt said...

Yes. Though now that you ask that, I realize keeping teenagers in schools or hagwons from 8am to 10pm or later reduces chances for exchanges of bodily fluids. While hagwons also allow students chances to meet those of the opposite sex from outside of the pool of candidates offered by classmates or other students at their school, I imagine the ultimate result of the system is to discourage sex between teenagers - at least middle class ones.

B_Wagner said...

I wonder if her timing was bad on getting the abortion with the recent anti-abortion movement.

http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2009/11/113_55937.html

http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/NEWKHSITE/data/html_dir/2009/11/09/200911090039.asp

That said, she's mobile enough to have gotten pregnant abroad. And the family seems to have the funds for travel. If the girl and the family were so desperate to have the abortion one wonders why they didn't go abroad for that too.

Andrew said...

Short trip to Japan could fix her problem.

Anonymous said...

To abandon the baby in coin locker?

The cat's out of the bag...

(Melissa) said...

I'm really, really, really surprised at this. How did the Donga Ilbo get this story and all the details?? And, really, how could her family not find a hospital somewhere in Korea that would give her an abortion? That's just not likely.

Abortions in Korea can be fast, same-day, 2-hour affairs that anyone with a pocketful of cash can get. It isn't a good, safe or sensitive system - but I'm really skeptical that her parents couldn't find some hospital or clinic that would provide what they claim they wanted.

Bizarre.

Mark said...

Sounds like Korean hypocrisy to me. Here's a recent article on abortion in Korea, which shows quite clearly that abortions can be had easily anywhere in Korea:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/06/world/asia/06korea.html

Darth Babaganoosh said...

Is "Korean hypocrisy" different from regular hypocrisy?

LastnameKim said...

Yeah, actually, as others have insinuated, you have to doubt the credibility of this article. I'm too lazy to do more research, but I am also just skeptical about how true all of this is.

Anonymous said...

As mentioned above, anti-abortion movement currently gathering steam in Korea...