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Servicemembers stationed in South Korea may find ending a pregnancy easier if a move to modify the country’s abortion laws succeeds.

An official with South Korea’s Ministry of Health and Welfare said the ministry wants to make its abortion laws more “realistic.”

“There are so many cases of abortions occurred for financial reasons rather than legally allowed situations,” said Kim Ki-soo, of the ministry’s Support for Child Birth and Maternity Child Birth Team.

Abortion is banned in South Korea, except when the fetus has a genetic problem or disease, or when the pregnancy endangers the mother’s life, according to the Korean Ministry of Government Legislation. Many women, however, are believed to get abortions illegally.

U.S. military medical facilities do not provide voluntary abortions, defined as those that terminate pregnancy as a choice rather than a medical necessity.

The ministry said approximately 340,000 abortions were performed in South Korea in 2005, the latest year for which figures are available.

Kim said he doesn’t know when the abortion law could be changed, but the ministry will hold public hearings in January and begin drafting a bill next year. After that, the National Assembly will have to approve the bill before it becomes law.

Women who get an abortion in South Korea can face a year in jail or a fine of up to 2 million won, or $2,170. Doctors performing the procedure face up to two years in prison.

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