ISTANBUL – The government of Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan is drafting a change in the abortion law that will most probably make the procedure illegal in practice. Erdogan announced the new law Tuesday in a speech at the opening of a hospital in Istanbul.
The Turkish parliament will soon debate a Ministry of Health report on abortion , in which a new term of four weeks pregnancy is being proposed for legal abortion. Erdogan has already ordered the Ministry to draft the amendments.
Abortion has been legal in Turkey up to the tenth week of pregnancy since the early eighties.. A maximum term of four weeks means a ban in practice: in the first four weeks, most women are not yet aware of being pregnant. An exception will supposedly be made for cases in which the life of the pregnant woman is in danger.
PM Erdogan opened the debate about abortion last weekend at a congress of the women’s wing of his party. He is strongly opposed to both abortion and caesarean sections: the medical procedures are in his eyes misused to limit Turkey’s population growth.
Caesarean section would, according to Erdogan, prevent women from having more than two children. Caeserean sections without a medical reason are booming in Turkey: almost 40% of babies are delivered that way. The abortion rate has been stable for years though: some 17% of pregnancies end in abortion.
During his speech on Tuesday, Erdogan compared abortion to murder, and claimed the matter has nothing to do with women’s rights.