Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Turkey drops controversial plan to reduce abortion time limit

Ankara has dropped plans for a controversial bill that would have slashed the time limit for abortions.

ANKARA // Turkey's conservative government has dropped plans for a controversial bill that would have slashed the time limit for abortions, a parliamentary source said today.

"The government has backed away from initial plans to curb abortion rights," the source said, adding that the Islamist-rooted government would instead seek to limit the number of caesarean sections being performed in the country.

The legislation initially proposed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), would have required all abortions to take place within the first six weeks of pregnancy, down from the 10 weeks currently allowed.

Experts said the limit would effectively be an abortion ban, since most women do not realise they are pregnant until around the sixth week of pregnancy.

Thousands of women and activists staged demonstrations throughout the country to protest the planned measures and Turkish media have published surveys that showed that curbing abortion rights would cause AKP to lose votes.

The prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, sparked further outrage last month when he likened abortion to murder and saying that "every abortion was an Uludere", referring to a botched attack on Kurds by Turkish warplanes in December that claimed 34 lives.

Mr Erdogan has frequently called for women to have at least three children, and his party intended to criminalise adultery in 2004 but backed off under pressure from the European Union.

Secular Turkey legalised abortion for medical reasons in 1965, broadening the right in 1983 to all women in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 A view of a defaced portrait of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during an anti-North Korean rally on the 102nd birthday of North Korean founder Kim Il Sung in central Seoul. Kim Hong-Ji / Reuters

Best photography from around the world, April 15

The National View's photo editors pick the best images of the day from around the world.

 The Doha-based Youssef Al Qaradawi speaks to the crowd as he leads Friday prayers in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt in February, 2011. The outspoken pro-Muslim Brotherhood imam has been critical of the UAE’s policies toward Islamist groups, adding to friction between Qatar and other GCC states. Khalil Hamra / AP Photo

Brotherhood imam skips Doha sermon, but more needed for GCC to reconcile

That Youssef Al Qaradawi did not speak raises hopes that the spat involving Qatar and the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain might be slowly moving towards a resolution.

 Twitter photo of  Abdel Fattah El Sisi on the campaign trail on March 30. Photo courtesy-Twitter/@SisiCampaign

El Sisi rides a bicycle, kicks off social media storm

The photos and video created a huge buzz across social media networks, possibly a marker of a new era for Egypt.

 An Afghan election commission worker carries a ballot box at a vote counting centre in Jalalabad on April 6. A roadside bomb hit a truck carrying full ballot boxes in northern Afghanistan, killing three people a day after the country voted for a successor to President Hamid Karzai. Eight boxes of votes were destroyed in the blast, which came as the three leading candidates voiced concerns about possible fraud. Noorullah Shirzada / AFP Photo

Two pressing questions for Afghanistan’s future president

Once in office, the next Afghan president must move fast to address important questions that will decide the immediate future of the country.

 Friday is UN Mine Awareness Day and Omer Hassan, who does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan, is doing all he can to teach people about the dangers posed by landmines. Louise Redvers for The National

A landmine nearly ended Omer’s life but he now works to end the threat of mines in Iraq

Omer Hassan does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan and only has to show people his mangled leg to underscore the danger of mines. With the world marking UN Mine Awareness Day on Friday, his work is as important as ever as Iraq is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world.

 Supporters of Turkey's ruling AKP cheer as they follow the election's results in front of the party's headquarters in Ankara on March 30. Adem Altan/ AFP Photo

Erdogan critic fears retaliation if he returns to Turkey

Emre Uslu is a staunch critic of Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Now, with a mass crackdown on opposition expected, he is unsure when he can return home.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National