News / Europe

Turkish Women Protest Proposal to Limit Abortion

Thousands of abortion rights demonstrators stage the largest protest yet against plans by Turkey's Islamic-rooted government to curb abortion, which critics say will amount to a virtual ban, in Istanbul, Turkey, June 3, 2012.
Thousands of abortion rights demonstrators stage the largest protest yet against plans by Turkey's Islamic-rooted government to curb abortion, which critics say will amount to a virtual ban, in Istanbul, Turkey, June 3, 2012.
Dorian Jones
ISTANBUL, Turkey - Turkish women's groups are demonstrating in support of abortion rights, in response to the prime minister's call for tightening abortion regulations. 

"Prime minister, keep your hands off women's bodies," chanted thousands of women demonstrating in support of abortion rights.  

They are protesting Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan declaration last month that abortion is akin to murder, and his vow to curtail its use.

Among the demonstrators there is anger and fear.   

"This is our body, this is our right no one have any right to speak about our body, so we here to protest this," said one of the protesters.

"Dying, straight-out dying, with weird ways to abort themselves, this what happened before [abortion was legal] - thousands of women died," said another protester. "This is what is going to happen, they want to kill women anyway."

Since 1983 abortion has been legal in Turkey for up to 10 weeks after conception, with emergency abortions allowed later for medical reasons.  Married women require their husband's permission, unless the pregnancy poses an immediate danger to the life of the mother.  

Saturday, Prime Minister Erdogan dismissed critics of his abortion stance as being feminists. Erdogan, who also strongly advocates a three-child policy for families, has described abortion as being part of a conspiracy to control Turkey's population.

The prime minister's move is aimed at his Islamist supporters, according to Milliyet newspaper political columnist Asli Aydintasbas. But she says despite the government enjoying a large majority in parliament, it may find it difficult to push through its agenda.

"I think it is going to be very hard to reverse a right that women, also conservative women, have had," said Aydintasbas. "Abortion is not used as a population control mechanism, but is widely used in Turkey and women have had safe abortion for 30 years and they will not give up that right easily.  I think the government will have had time even among conservative women to find backers for this proposal."

Despite growing opposition, the government appears to committed to pushing through abortion reform in the coming weeks.  It says it is preparing new legislation, and some senior ministers have said abortion is a crime against humanity and should be banned, even for rape victims.

Political observers warn that could open up a new political fault line in an already polarized society.

You May Like

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid