The decriminalisation of adultery in South Korea has cause a spike in contraceptive sales that has meant manufacturers are struggling to meet demand.
On Thursday, seven of the nine judges on the Constitutional Court panel found that the 1953 law than made infidelity a criminal offence was unconstitutional.
In a statement, Justice Seo Ki-seok said:
“The law is unconstitutional as it infringes people’s right to make their own decisions on sex and secrecy and freedom of their private life, violating the principle banning excessive enforcement.”
The announcement caused a share-price surge for companies that produced Plan B pills and latex products such as Hyundai Pharmaceutical Company and Unidus Corporation, with the markets predicting a rapid growth in the number of people looking to have extra-marital affairs, a societal change warned by the dissenting Justice Ahn Chang-Ho.
For the past half-century South Koreans found guilty of infidelity could face prison time under the law, which was originally introduced to offer married women protections under the law.
Hundreds of complaints of adultery are filed each year, but judges have become increasingly lenient on the offenders as attitudes to sex and divorce have evolved over time, with only 22 people jailed under the law since 2008.