Following strong remarks by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan against abortion last week, Turkish Health Minister Recep Akdağ announced on Wednesday that the ministry plans to complete its work on a draft bill on abortion next month and present it to the Cabinet.
The content of the bill is not clear, but there are reports that the government plans to decrease the time up to which abortions can legally be performed from 10 weeks to four or five weeks into a pregnancy. Akdağ added that he personally believes that no abortion should be performed unless it is a medical necessity.
Abortion discussions have dominated Turkey's agenda since last weekend after Erdoğan sparked outrage among women's groups, opposition lawmakers and media critics when he delivered two fiery speeches in which he attacked abortion 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.
“Whether you kill a baby in its mother's stomach or you kill a baby after birth, there is no difference,” Erdoğan said. He also noted that “every abortion is like an Uludere,” a reference to an incident in December of last year in which 34 civilians were killed by the Turkish military in an air strike near the Iraqi border in the Kurdish-dominated Southeast.
“We are preparing a law on abortion and we will enact this law,” Erdoğan had announced to a cheering crowd at the opening of a new hospital in İstanbul. He did not elaborate on what the draft bill would entail.
Abortion until the 10th week after conception has been legal in Turkey since 1983.