North Korea has banned abortion and birth control as a means to remedy its rapidly falling birth rate.
Leader Kim Jong Un reportedly decided to impose the ban on birth control and abortion solely because he believes such a ban will improve the economy.
According to Radio Free Asia (RFA), North Korea has had a voluntary “one-child policy” whereby most married couples have purposely had only one child since the cost to raise and educate a child is exorbitant in the country. Now, North Korea’s birth rate is 14.52 babies per 1,000 people in the population this year, as recorded in the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook. In 2000, North Korea’s birth rate was 20.43 per 1,000 people in the population.
RFA’s sources say that because of the poor economic environment in North Korea, prostitution and sexual assaults are commonplace in the country, leading many parents to have their young daughters implanted with an intrauterine device (IUD) to prevent pregnancy.
The new policy reportedly states that such birth control procedures, as well as abortions, are now illegal and doctors who provide them will be punished.