Government backs down on plans to ban abortion

Government backs down on plans to ban abortion

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Government backs down on plans to ban abortion

Family Minister Fatma Şahin says the new rules on abortion will not upset anyone. DHA photo

After a month-long study the government has decided to impose strict rules for abortion while preserving the current limit of 10 weeks, a move which could be considered a step back from the original abortion ban proposal. Under the new rules abortion would be permitted only in general hospitals by specialist doctors, according to a report drawn up by the ministries of health, justice and family and social affairs.

“We have done a detailed study on abortion. We will submit the report on this issue to the cabinet on Monday,” Health Minister Recep Akdağ said. Family and Social Affairs Minister Fatma Şahin said they would submit a proposal on abortion that would be “conscientiously acceptable for everybody.”

Caesarean sections
The ministers of health and social and family affairs backed Erdoğan and had begun preparing a report for the restriction of both Caesarean sections and abortion.

Women’s rights associations, opposition parties and international organizations warned the government not to impose a ban on abortion.

Along with abortion, Erdoğan also said the rate of Caesarean section births should be decreased. The government introduced a proposal to restrict Caesarean section births late Wednesday. Under the proposal Caesarean section births will only be permitted in the case of medical obligation.

However, a recent statement from a senior member of the ruling party threw the public into confusion. Nurettin Canikli deputy group chair of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) said they would not change the abortion law in a statement to daily Hürriyet printed yesterday. In a swift response, Akdağ said Canikli might have alluded to the busy schedule of the Parliament over the legislative year, as the Parliament is expected to adjourn by the end of June.

The World Health Organization (WHO) emphasizes safe, accessible but rare practice of abortion, Akdağ said. “Banning or not banning abortion is not the question,” he said, adding that the question is to develop a new understanding and make new regulations in accordance with these principles.

Akdağ said abortion should not be a method of birth control or family planning. “If a woman does not want to get pregnant, there are modern [contraception] methods. But expulsion of the baby from the mother’s womb cannot be such a method. This is conscientiously unacceptable. Our women should have the opportunity for safely induced miscarriage. We are considering improving these facilities; our strategic plan includes it.