SEOUL, April 11 (Yonhap) -- The Constitutional Court ruled Thursday that the current abortion law is inconsistent with the Constitution and called for its amendment, in a landmark decision that signals a major change in various aspects of society.
It ruled that an outright ban on abortion is against the Constitution and called for a legislative change to partially allow the termination in the early stage of pregnancy.
The adjudication comes 66 years after Korea first enacted the law in 1953 banning the termination of an unborn fetus in nearly all cases.
It is also a fresh ruling after seven years as the highest court narrowly upheld the long-debated law in a 4-4 vote when it last reviewed its legality in August 2012.
The court also ruled that it's against the Constitution to punish physicians for carrying out the procedure, ordering the legislature to revise the related law by the end of next year.
The court agreed with the claimant's argument that the current law infringes upon a woman's right to make a free choice.
S. Korea turns to traditional deterrence playbook
Former, current governments clash head-on over repatriation of N.K. fishermen
Ruling party in turmoil about 2 months after Yoon took office
Yoon uses first overseas trip as president to rebuild ties, promote exports
Talk of 'normalizing' GSOMIA raises hope, skepticism around Seoul-Tokyo ties