Turkey May Seek Abortion Ban After Prime Minister Speaks Out

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 29, 2012   |   6:52PM   |   Ankara, Turkey

Turkey may pursue a ban on abortions on the heels of comments from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who recently likened abortions to murder and said they constitute population control.

Bloomberg News has more on the latest in the potential campaign to ban abortions, saying Turkey’s Cabinet will debate a Health Ministry report soon.

Women’s rights are unrelated to abortion and Turkey must prevent its use as a means of birth control, Health Minister Recep Akdag told reporters in the Ankara parliament today. “The thought that a live being is destroyed has been completely missing from all the commentary” by opponents of a ban, said Akdag, adding that health reasons will be excluded from the government’s abortion discussions.

Akdag declined to directly answer questions on whether Turkey would move to ban the procedure. He said the Cabinet will discuss issues such as abortion in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, when the likelihood of health complications for women is lower.

Speaking to his ruling AK-Party’s women’s branches on Saturday in Ankara, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: “I see abortion as murder… I am asking you: what’s the difference between killing a baby inside a mother’s womb and killing a baby after birth?”

The prime minister went further, comparing abortion—which is legal in Turkey up to 10 weeks from conception—to the December killing of 34 Kurdish civilians in Uludere, on Turkey’s Iraqi border, by a Turkish military airstrike. The incident has put Turkish government under intense political pressure.

“Each abortion is one Uludere,” Mr. Erdogan said, adding that abortion and caesarean births were part of “a sneaky plan to wipe the country off the world stage” by slowing the growth of Turkey’s population.

The main opposition Republican People’s Party, or CHP, defended abortion, with CHP lawmaker Aylin Nazliaka saying, “The prime minister should stop guarding vaginas” and pro-abortion activists waved banners outside Erdogan’s office in Istanbul.

The prime minister has a pro-life version of the one-child policy in China, hoping each couple will have at least three.

Erdogan has for years promoted his own ‘three-child policy,’ recommending that Turkish citizens should have at least three children to keep the country’s population and workforce dynamically youthful.

A 2009 study done on women in Turkey who had abortions found a 66 percent increased risk of contracting breast cancer as a result. The study was the latest to confirm that abortions cause significant adverse medical risks for women who have them, in addition to killing unborn children.



The results also found that, while induced abortion causes increased breast cancer risks for women, having a spontaneous abortion, or miscarriage, does not.

Dr. Vahit Ozmen and his colleagues at the Istanbul Medical Faculty at Istanbul University and Magee-Women’s hospital in Pittsburgh conducted the retrospective study.

They published their findings in the April 2009 issue of the World Journal of Surgical Oncology and examined women who, between January 2000 and December 2006, were admitted to clinics of Istanbul Medical Faculty for examination.

The researchers said that their findings showed abortion was “significantly associated with increased breast cancer risk.”