Abortion restricted in Turkey

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.

5 replies
  1. Candide
    Candide says:

    Sorry to intervene again Frederike but is your header “Abortion restricted in Turkey” logically correct ?

    It has not happened yet and I hope it will not happen…

  2. Fréderike Geerdink
    Fréderike Geerdink says:

    There’s Candide again showing no clue about news agency writing and headline making. Headlines need to be as short as possible. Yes, you loose some nuance or possibles, you put that in the article itself. Like I did. That was lesson 1, at your service.

  3. Eln
    Eln says:

    Dear Frederike,
    Thanks for your work and your posts. The info in this last one is truly scary… I suppose it reveals a sharp populist/nationalistic/vote-seeking-at-any-price turn in Erdogan that many should seriously worry about. About headlines, I think you could have written “abortion to be restricted” – that would have been concise and more accurate.
    I just want to say one little thing about your back and forth with Candide. I guess it annoys you, and it is also seriously annoying for readers like me, as there is no constructive debates in the comments anymore. If that person does not abstain from writing, maybe it is time considering not publishing their response altogether?

  4. Fréderike Geerdink
    Fréderike Geerdink says:

    Eln, I didn’t come to blocking him yet, that point is far away for a free speech-person like me. I don’t really think it makes other people not react, to be honest, I mean, look at yourself commenting here 😉 I will go back to ignoring him at some point.

  5. Indrani
    Indrani says:

    Dear Frederike

    I am writing to you for the first time. For me what matters is the content which is quite a dangerous signal. I am really sorry to say but Turkey with the AKP has turned too conservative and short sighted. This new abortion law being contested rather willed by Mr. Erdogan is a sign of following two things.. please forgive me for saying it but his strategy is to have too many children which is a very Islamist principle “children are Allah’s gift” and Turkey is becoming Islamist in a very faster rate..therefore it won’t be a surprise if this is one of the reason.

    Secondly, most of the leaders feel that more children means more manpower but short sighted leaders do not see that the way the world is turning with global warming, reduction of trees, nuclear and thermoberic weapons and conflicts all around, therefore with more addition of people things will turn worse rather than towards positivity.


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