|Bishop Mathias Lee Yong-hoon, new president of the Catholic Bishop's Conference of Korea / Yonhap|
By Kang Hyun-kyung
The newly-elected leader of the Catholic Bishop's Conference of Korea (CBCK) announced that there has been no change in the Catholic Church's pro-life stance, saying abortion is unacceptable.
During a news conference held at the CBCK in Seoul, Bishop Mathias Lee Yong-hoon said "protecting the dignity of human life is a value that cannot be compromised."
Lee, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Suwon, was recently elected as the CBCK president.
After reaffirming the Church's view on abortion, he went on to urge the government to introduce "conscience objection."
"Conscience objection allows doctors and nurses to refuse to perform abortions requested by their patients. Healthcare workers shouldn't be punished just because they refuse to perform an abortion procedure," he said.
The government recently pre-announced the implementation of revisions to the Criminal Law, and Mother and Child Health Law, which decriminalizes abortions conducted within the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.
Abortions for women who are between 15 weeks and 24 weeks pregnant will also be decriminalized under "certain conditions."
The legislation met fierce opposition from the Catholic Church and Lee called for the government to implement an unconditional ban on abortion.