Gynecologists ask for charter guarantee on abortion freedom

Gynecologists ask for charter guarantee on abortion freedom

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Gynecologists ask for charter guarantee on abortion freedom

A protester tries to break through an all-women-police chain at an Ankara demonstration against the AKP government’s proposal to restrict abortion in Turkey. DHA photo

Following the Turkish government’s recent initiative to legally restrict or ban abortion, a group of scientists have presented a report to Parliament asking for a “constitutional guarantee for abortion.”

The Turkish Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology presented a report to Parliament’s Constitutional Reconciliation Commission titled “Abortion: The right for fertility health and the right for health.” The society asked that women’s right to make decisions regarding “fertility health” be guaranteed in the new constitution.

The chairman of the association, Professor İsmail Mete İtil, told the Hürriyet Daily News that the group presented their views in a written statement, and that they were asking for the right to healthy fertility.

Mortality rates

The report indicates that the mortality rate of mothers in societies where abortion is illegal is high. Shocking figures from African, Latin American and Asian countries were cited in the report. It stated that annually some 46 million women had illegal abortions, and that 49 percent of these were performed in unsafe environments.

The report said “the mortality rate is 95 percent in Africa and Asia and 4 percent in Latin America due to unsafe abortion. Elective abortion is limited in these countries by law.”

The association also stated that every 8 minutes a woman died due to unsafe abortion practices.

“According to World Health Organization statistics 68,000 women died annually due to unsafe abortions, and 5.3 million women suffered infections or became permanently injured,” the report said.

The report also states that Turkey has signed U.N. agreements giving mothers the right to decide when to end a pregnancy and to make decisions related to their own bodies.

“All individuals have the right to benefit from medical technology for treating infertility, preventing pregnancy and ending pregnancy,” one agreement that Turkey has signed, called “The Right to Reproductive and Sexual Health,” says. Other items listed in the agreement include the right to privacy, the right to decide to have or not to have a child, and the right to benefit from scientific developments.

The report also stated that the “Population Planning Law,” passed in 1983, decreased the rate of unsafe abortion in Turkey, and deaths of women during early pregnancy have decreased to as low as 2.3 percent.

Abortion Law

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced on May 30 that he had delivered instructions to the Cabinet to begin drafting new legislation on abortion in the wake of his recent comments equating the practice with murder.

“I have already told my ministers. We are preparing a law on abortion, and we are going to pass it,” Erdoğan said.

“There are similar laws that have been passed in many societies in the West in the same vein. Now that is what we are working on, too. This has a place among our values, for one. This cannot be permitted. May God forbid, things such as the threat of death are a different matter,” Erdoğan added.