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RIGHTS > Ban will not lead to fewer abortions: Council of Europe

Cansu Çamlıbel ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News

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‘Not labour, but women, not capital but children,’ says one banner carried by protesters against abortion ban. Hürriyet photo

‘Not labour, but women, not capital but children,’ says one banner carried by protesters against abortion ban. Hürriyet photo

Criminalizing abortion will not lead to fewer abortions, said the Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, who has been in Turkey for meetings on violence against women.

“I would want the government to take measures which are not repressive. I would prefer the
governments to introduce incentives for women to want their pregnancies. That means to create the material conditions and incentives such as pre-schools. If the government moves towards that direction perhaps there will be more wanted pregnancies,” Boer-Buquicchio said.

“Criminalizing abortion will not lead to less abortions. I even see a divide on the basis of income. Wealthy women will go abroad and have an abortion and poor women will go and have it in the backrooms. But all these will risk the lives of women and children,” she said.

The government’s anti- abortion initiative is a regression from what exists so far, Boer-Buquicchio said.
“This is a regression from what existed so far. I don’t want to say that Turkey is becoming more conservative. I have noticed that on many issues there really is progress that has been made. But there are also areas where we have serious concerns. Occasionally there are things that I do not understand. They do not fit into that pattern. This is one of them,” she said.

Protests continue
Hundreds of men and women gathered in Istanbul’s Beyoğlu district to protest against the abortion-ban yesterday.

Female activists should demonstrate for heavier punishments for rapists, Health Minister Recep Akdağ said, adding that debates on abortion were creating awareness in the society.

“The more abortion is debated the awareness level of our citizens increases. I’m sure even these debates on abortion alone will cause lesser abortions. We are preparing a report. A council has met, one of an enlarged experts’ council. I will meet them and we will debate. I will inform the cabinet and our prime minister,” Akdağ said.

Health Minister Akdağ said the real problem was the need to sentence rapists to very heavy terms.

“Let alone abortion on one side. If a woman is subjected to a sexual attack without her consent, well, for an attack to happen, it has to be without consent. A man raping or attempting to rape, I believe, should receive very heavy sentence. As the health minister of my country, from the point of protecting women’s rights, their body and psychological health, as a deterrent factor, I propose that much heavier penalties be exerted on,” said Akdağ.

June/11/2012

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