Cardinal Yeom has been an outspoken advocate for the protection of unborn life in South Korea's national debates. He chairs the archdiocesan Committee for Life.
"Every human being is the subject of the constitutional right to life," Yeom said in a message to the South Korean Ministry of Justice on Aug. 13.
"The recommendation to abolition of abortion law, which is known to be released by the Ministry of Justice's Gender Equality Policy Committee, is unfair, as it implies a complete abandonment of the state's obligation to protect the life of the unborn child," he said.
The cardinal argued that the complete abolition of abortion regulations would be contrary to the purpose of the Constitutional Court's decision, which regarded the criminal penalty for obtaining an illegal abortion.
The Korean government reported 168,738 abortions and 470,171 live births in the country in 2010.
Pope Francis brought attention to the issue of abortion in South Korea during his visit to South Korea in 2014, by praying at a cemetery for aborted children created by the Korean religious community of Kkottongnae.
Br. James Sang-Hyun Shin, a doctor and religious brother with the Congregation of Kkottongnae, was part of the delegation that met with the apostolic nuncio last week.
He was joined by Professor Seung-Joo Kim, a priest and faculty adviser for the pro-life student association, Sr. Kim Sun-mi, and Sr. Kim Myung-Shim of the Kkottongnae Sisters.
"Korea's current administration suggests a model of 'inclusivity' … but its policies only include as their subjects infants to the elderly. In the policies of a government that claims to guarantee support for all people in all stages of their lives, the unborn children, the start of life, are excluded," Br. Shin told CNA.
Courtney Mares is a Rome Correspondent for Catholic News Agency. A graduate of Harvard University, she has reported from news bureaus on three continents and was awarded the Gardner Fellowship for her work with North Korean refugees.