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Turkey Abortions

Elisha Fields

Elisha Fields

In Istanbul on Sunday, crowds of people took to the streets to protest against Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s plans to bring restrictions on abortions. If you haven’t heard already, the Turkish government plans to reduce the abortion rate in Turkey. 

According to Konsensus research centre, 55.5% of Turks are not supporting an abortion ban. At the moment as it stands, abortion in Turkey is legal up until the 10th week of pregnancy (if a woman is married she needs her husband’s consent, however this is not necessary if her health is in danger). If a woman has become pregnant due to a criminal offence, she is allowed to have an abortion up until the 20th week. The government plans to make it only legal to have an abortion within four weeks of pregnancy. This plan is being heavily criticized. Additionally many women are unaware that they are pregnant within their first month. This time limit does not seem fair.

Abortion has been legal in Turkey since 1983. Before then like in many places of the world, women were undertaking dangerous methods to abort. By restricting abortion, I do not think this will decrease the abortion rate but will only drive woman to use unsafe methods again. By using unsafe methods, this can result in women dying or becoming seriously ill. Many women I’m sure will result in aborting abroad. So if the government plans to keep the population growing, aborting abroad will not help their cause. As well as the fetus, we should also be thinking about the woman’s health and rights.  

The abortion rate in Turkey is actually lower than Europe’s. According to AFP, in 2009 there were 60,000 abortions reported in Turkey. Since 2009, the abortion rate has increased and last year there were almost 70,000. If the government wants to reduce to the number of abortions, why not look into why abortions are happening? Many people are using abortions as alternative methods to birth control. There needs to be more education about birth control and better access to contraceptives. If woman are aborting, for instance, because they don’t feel they have enough money to raise a baby, then perhaps more financial incentives should be given to help women? If abortions are happening because women conceived from being raped, then more work should be done to stop rape happening. And so on.   


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