Abortion ban will lead to more deaths for women, says UN official
Zahidul Huque. AA Photo
A possible abortion ban in Turkey would lead to more deaths for women who will have to resort to unsafe methods to end unwanted pregnancies, Turkey's U.N. Population Fund Representative recently told BBC Türkçe.
New regulations that would only abortions to be conducted in the first four weeks of pregnancy would make it nearly impossible for women to conduct an abortion since it is extremely difficult to detect a pregnancy within that period of time, Zahidul Huque said in an interview with BBC Türkçe.
Such a law would force women to resort to help from "providers without the necessary skills and equipment," Huque said, citing Romania's track record in which there was a drastic increase in maternal deaths and post-abortion cost that followed a 1966 law that banned abortions in the country.
Turkish women also experienced similar adverse problems in the 1970s, when abortion was heavily restricted by law, he said. According to Huque, a 1983 law allowing abortions "reduced women's suffering significantly" while also initiating a decrease in the number of pregnancies that were ended because the law was coupled with better teachings on modern contraceptives.
Correct approach is not legal or moral
Huque dismissed "legal interdictions or moral condemnation" as improper ways of dealing with the issue of abortion and instead advised governments to take a "human rights approach."
Governments should promote women's freedom over their sexual lives and provide them with the necessary means to make healthy and responsible choices in their lives, he said, adding that efficient post-abortion care should be provided regardless of the legal state of abortion in the country.
Abortion as a method of family planning endangers lives
Huque, however, ruled out abortion as a method of family planning.
Abortion should be replaced with "affordable and acceptable" modern contraception and education, Huque said, adding that that would help men and women make informed decisions about their lives.
"Pregnancies that are wanted, safe motherhood and healthy families that are supported by communities and governments are at the heart of a successful population policy,” he said.