World Bulletin / News Desk
There will be no ban on abortion or changes to the time up to which abortions can legally be performed, states a report that has been prepared by a scientific council and will be presented to the Cabinet on Monday, Turkish media reported on Friday.
The suggestions put forward in the report concern training people about family planning methods and providing safe abortions when needed.
According to the report, there won't be any ban introduced on abortions, which have been legal in Turkey since 1983 up to the 10th week of pregnancy.
The report puts special emphasis on awareness about abortion and on families being educated about birth control methods in a bid to reduce the frequency of abortions in Turkey.
The report also includes suggestions about how to get a safe abortion. Accordingly, abortions, which currently can be performed by physicians in any health institution, will only be performed by gynecologists in fully equipped hospitals.
The expectant mother or the couple who apply to a hospital for an abortion will first be informed by a committee comprising a gynecologist, a social service specialist and a psychologist about the surgery, its risks and possible complications. The mother or the couple will then be given time to reconsider the decision.
The report on abortion has been prepared by a scientific council of 20 people, including gynecologists, perinatologists, pediatricians, psychiatrists, jurists, social scientists and representatives from women's rights groups, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Family and Social Policy. Health Minister Recep Akdağ, Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin and Family and Social Policy Minister Fatma Şahin met on Tuesday to work out the details of the report.
Speaking to the media on Thursday, Şahin said their suggestions will get the thumbs-up from everybody, including women's rights organizations.
“Personally, I am pleased with the outcome [of the joint work on the abortion issue] as a woman and a mother,” Şahin told reporters, adding that the issue of abortion does not only concern women but also men, who share responsibility in birth control -- contrary to the general assumption that the responsibility for birth control should fall on women.
Akdağ also spoke to the media on Thursday, saying: “The issue is not about banning abortions or not. The issue is about ensuring a new understanding in Turkey in line with the principles of the World Health Organization, and those emphasize accessible, safe abortions as a last resort.”
The minister also said that abortions should never be seen as a family planning method.
Discussions on abortion dominated Turkey's agenda for weeks after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan delivered two fiery speeches in which he attacked abortions and caesarean births as “secret” plots designed to stall Turkey's economic growth. He referred to abortion as “murder” and added that no one should have the right to approve abortions.