Media commentators and feminists regularly promote abortion nationally in the name of women’s “freedom.” But they would do well to take a look internationally, or, more specifically, North Korea, to see how abortion is wielded against women.
On July 28, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released a report detailing “human rights violations against women detained” in North Korea, or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The report centered on interviews with more than 100 women “who were subjected to forced repatriation and subsequent detention” from 2009 to 2019. They later escaped – to reveal chilling stories of sexual abuse and forced abortions.
The report focused on the “specific vulnerabilities faced by women detainees,” including sexual violence in pre-trial detention centers, holding centers, short-term labor camps, and ordinary prisons.
While detained, the report highlighted that women were “dealt with almost exclusively by male officers,” including guards who “could observe the female detainees at all times.”
After forced repatriation, being returned to their country, detainees said that they underwent body searches. Among other things, they were forced to strip naked and occasionally commanded “to squat and jump repeatedly to check whether they had hidden items in their body