South Korea's highest court voted that a 62-year-old law banning extramarital affairs is unconstitutional, and in the hours following the decision, stock prices for condom and birth control manufacturers have seen an immediate increase.

The law, which was implemented in 1953, was initially intended to support monogamy and protect women in a male-dominated society where divorce was rare. According to the law, adultery was punishable by up to two years in prison. Since 1985, nearly 53,000 individuals have been indicted on adultery charges, and 892 were indicted last year, though none of them received a prison sentence. Each year, the number of adultery cases dropped, and prison sentences were extremely rare. Now that the law has been overturned, any current adultery cases will be thrown out, and anyone who was previously indicted will be eligible for a retrial.

The court previously upheld the adultery ban in a 2008 case, and they re-examined the law based on 17 complaints filed by people from 2009 to 2014 who had been charged with adultery and claimed that it was an assault on their personal freedoms. This time, the court agreed, as seven of the court's nine judges voted to overturn the ban. In an opinion for the majority, 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 under the constitution."


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The court decision resulted in some unexpected reactions, as contraception manufacturers reported an immediate spike in stock. Unidus Corp, which makes latex products, including condoms, reached the 15 percent daily limit increase in South Korea's Kosdaq market following the ruling. Similarly, Hyundai Pharmaceutical Co Ltd, which produces morning-after birth control pills and pregnancy tests, saw a 9.7 percent gain.

What do you think of this court ruling and the subsequent stock surge? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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