Forced Abortion in North Korea: Pregnant Women Kicked, Held Down and Tortured, Report Says

Michael Foust | Contributor | Wednesday, August 7, 2019
Forced Abortion in North Korea: Pregnant Women Kicked, Held Down and Tortured, Report Says

Forced Abortion in North Korea: Pregnant Women Kicked, Held Down and Tortured, Report Says

North Korea’s nuclear program and prison camps often get the most attention from the media, but experts on the region say the nation’s horrific practice of forcing women to get abortions deserves more of a spotlight.

Forced abortions also are common in China, which is complicit in North Korea’s actions, according to a new report from Fox News. 

North Korea even practices outright infanticide of babies after birth.  

“Terrifying reports from female defectors depict undergoing forced abortions after they fled to what they thought was freedom in China, only to be repatriated back to North Korea by authorities in China,” Olivia Enos, senior policy analyst for Asian Studies at The Heritage Foundation,” told Fox News. 

“Other women from North Korea recount having aborted babies born alive or giving birth in ordinary prison camps only to have border guards smother or drown their babies before their very eyes,” Enos added.

Dong Yon Kim, an analyst and journalist for Chosun News-Press, told Fox News women “are treated like an animal and have been put through forced abortions and it is done in many ways.” 

“This is inhumane and a serious problem,” he said.  

Kim told the story of a pregnant woman who tried escaping to China but was caught and returned. After North Korean authorities learned she was pregnant, she was “kicked multiple times and she lost her baby.”

Kim detailed other methods of forced abortion – all of which occur without amnesia. 

“Pregnant women can be made to lie on the ground,” Kim told Fox News. “Then [guards] put a long and wide piece of wood on her stomach. They pick two people for the job. These two people could be the son of the woman, her husband or lover, or any relative. These men stand on top of the wooden board like a see-saw. Using a burning iron is another method. The punisher carries a long piece of metal and lets it burn until red or yellow, then puts it into the pregnant woman. A woman can die from this punishment, and often, if she survives, she cannot walk properly.”

A 2014 United Nations-commissioned report said forced abortion and infanticide are common when a woman is repatriated back to North Korea. The assumption is that she became pregnant with a Chinese man; the North Korean culture disdains “children who are not of pure Korean blood,” the report said. 

“There is a widespread prevalence of forced abortion and infanticide against repatriated mothers and their children. The vast majority of forced abortions upon pregnant women repatriated from China,” the report said. “Forced abortions are carried out on the premise that all repatriated pregnant women could be carrying babies conceived by Chinese men. The women are not asked what ethnicity the father of the child is.”


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Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog,

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