Turkish women are seeking illegal ways for abortion

Turkish women are seeking illegal ways for abortion

​According to a law that came into force in 1983, abortion was legalized in Turkey. Research conducted in 2013 by Ankara-based Hacettepe University revealed that 14 percent of the women in this country have had at least one abortion in their lives.
Pregnancies until 10 weeks can be ended by abortion. Abortions in state hospitals are covered by the state’s health insurance, but this is only on paper because the law is not implemented. 

According to research conducted by the Istanbul-based Kadir Has University’s Gender and Women’s Studies Research Center, only 7.8 percent of state hospitals provide abortion services no-questions-asked which is permitted by the current law, while 78 percent provide abortions only when there is a medical necessity for it. 

Of the 58 teaching and research hospitals in Turkey, only nine of them (15.5 percent) provide abortion care no-questions-asked, 38 (65.5 percent) will do the procedure if there is a medical necessity for it and 11 (11.4 percent) of the hospitals refuse to provide abortion services under any circumstance. 

There are two regions populated with a total of 1.5 million women of childbearing age where no state hospital provides abortion no-questions-asked.

Another research conducted jointly by 12 women’s organizations last summer also revealed that access to the legal right of abortion did not exist in big cities, with the exception of a few hospitals. Some 74 of the 184 state hospitals in 12 provinces said they were providing abortion services, yet only nine hospitals in Ankara, Istanbul and İzmir carried out abortions without no-questions-asked and without making discrimination on whether the women were married or not.
Women forced to resort to riskier methods
When the situation is as such, in other words, when the law is not implemented by the state’s institutions themselves, when others start making decisions about women’s bodies and lives, many women become prisoners to their pregnancies and lives they don’t want. Or they look for a way out of it illegally.

Just three months ago, the Istanbul Department of Anti-Smuggling found out that banned abortion pills were being sold on the internet and revealed that hundreds had paid 100 liras for one piece of the abortion pill called Cytotec. The money collected from the abortion pills amounted to 1 million Turkish Liras.

Pills were provided by a pharmacy in Bakırköy in İstanbul’s European side as well as a depot in the southern district of Tarsus. Some 300 women performed an abortion using this pill.

A doctor in the southern province of Adana was detained for facilitating women’s abortions by giving them these banned pills.

Only a while ago we read news stories about the scandal of illegal abortions that occurred in Turkish Cyprus. We read that one branch of the network that organized abortion tours to the island was in Turkey and that the investigation would be taken to Turkey.

At the end of the day, abortion is legal in this country and the state hospitals are bound to implement the law. 

If they do not implement or drag their feet, women will resort to riskier methods which they do and they will.
Can you blame them?