Ban proposal adds fire to raging anti-abortion debate
ANKARA / ISTANBUL
Family Minister Fatma Şahin supports PM Erdoğan who says he is opposing Caesarean births which are made to prevent Turkey’s population from growing further. DHA photoAbortion is a practice that “should be banned,” the head of Parliament’s Human Rights Commission has said, adding fire to a raging debate that was sparked by the Turkish prime minister’s recent remarks against abortion and Caesarian births.
“Abortion is a crime against humanity. It means depriving unborn babies of the right to life. It’s a delusion to consider that a baby’s life begins only after a certain period of pregnancy. Our society is pulling away from this delusion gradually,” Ayhan Sefer Üstün told Anatolia news agency yesterday.
Any intervention against life in the womb should be banned without regard for the woman’s trimester, Üstün said.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said May 25 that he considered abortion to be “murder” while also speaking out against Caesarean births. In Turkey, abortion is legal during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, and Erdoğan’s remarks have created a huge debate over the issue.
According to Üstün, abortion is a subject related to many areas such as the penal code, human rights and traditions. Üstün indicated that an abortion ban could be brought to the Turkish Parliament’s agenda in the upcoming days.
On the other hand, a deputy from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Sezgin Tanrıkulu, who is also a member of the Human Rights Commission, described the abortion debate as a result of the government’s “agenda engineering.”
“An issue which concerns only individuals has become an issue for politics. This is the Justice and Development Party’s attempt to change Turkey’s agenda,” Tanrıkulu told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday on the phone.
Tanrıkulu also condemned Üstün’s comments on abortion as “unfortunate.”
The Turkish Medical Association (TTB) also slammed the government over the abortion debate.
“The oppression of women has come to the point of deciding how many children women would give birth to and how they would do it. Pushing women to have at least three children and taking away abortion rights from women is a way of locking women in their houses,” a press release made public yesterday read.
The right to have an abortion is an inseparable part of women’s control over their own bodies; women do not belong to the state, they belong to themselves, the TTB’s announcement said.
The TTB’s Istanbul branch also joined the abortion debate, saying in a written statement that a ban would lead to “secret abortion centers” and put the health of women further at risk while also noting that abortion was not considered or used as a birth control method.