42.The Committee expresses its concern that, even though abortion is legal under certain circumstances, including under the Mother and Child Health Act in cases of rape and incest, it remains a punishable offence under the Criminal Code. In addition, the Committee is concerned that, in September 2016, the Ministry of Health and Welfare reportedly defined abortion, in violation of the Act, as an unethical medical practice, thereby subjecting health-care professionals to criminal punishment and medical licence suspension. The Committee, however, welcomes the fact that that policy measure was later withdrawn and in that regard takes note of the information provided by the State party indicating that the constitutionality of the criminalization of abortion was being considered by the Constitutional Court.
43. The Committee reiterates its previous recommendation ( CEDAW/C/KOR /CO/7 , para. 35) and, in view of the fact that unsafe abortion is a leading cause of maternal mortality and morbidity, calls upon the State party to legalize abortion in cases of rape, incest, threats to the life and/or health of the pregnant woman, or severe fetal impairment, and to decriminalize it in all other cases, remove punitive measures for women who undergo abortion and provide women with access to high-quality post-abortion care, in particular in cases of complications resulting from unsafe abortions.