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Fertility Control, Reproductive Rights, and Women's Empowerment in Korea
- Fertility Control, Reproductive Rights, and Women's Empowerment in Korea
- Hyoung C.
- Ewha Authors
- SCOPUS Author ID
- Issue Date
- Journal Title
- Asian Journal of Women's Studies
- Asian Journal of Women's Studies vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 103 - 132
- SSCI; SCOPUS; KCI
- Document Type
- Reproductive rights constitute an essential element for women's empowerment and can be meaningful only if they are a source of autonomy for women in making choices relating to their own bodies and welfare. This paper considers some questions about the definition of reproductive rights from a feminist perspective. It further analyzes Korean data on fertility behavior to understand the manner in which women's rights are limited and which leads to their disempowerment. The Korean data suggest that the improved socioeconomic conditions, reproductive technology and administrative and clinical services are linked to the government's family planning policy and have greatly contributed to the changes in fertility rates and individuals' adoption of fertility control. However, the concept of reproductive rights is quite vague and reproduction is still taken to be a woman's responsibility rather than her right. The knowledge and technical means to control fertility have become widely available, but there are still many groups of women who do not have access either to the necessary information, or the economic means to actually do so. More importantly, the right of women to make a free choice about fertility control is restricted by the patriarchal system, its social institutions and obscure cultural beliefs. Consequently, women's reproductive decisions are made non-voluntarily, or at best, women are forced to make so-called rational choices within the limits imposed by the patriarchal society.
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