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Today's Zaman

Health Minister Akdağ vows to carry out changes on abortion law

27 June 2012, Wednesday /TODAY’S ZAMAN
Health Minister Recep Akdağ has said legal changes to laws and regulations pertaining to abortion will definitely take place.

Akdağ told reporters on Tuesday if Parliament’s summer recess begins on July 1, the changes will be carried out after it reconvenes in October. If it does not break on that date, the changes could take place sooner. “But in addition to legal changes there are many other things to deal with surrounding the issue of abortion,” he added.

He said a report on abortion has been concluded but was not presented to the Cabinet due to the intense agenda at the Cabinet meeting on Monday. The minister said he cannot reveal information about the report before submitting it to Cabinet ministers, adding that the Ministry of Health held roughly 20 meetings on the issue of abortion.

A debate on abortion was brought to the fore by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in early June. Erdoğan described every abortion as murder and revealed government plans to craft a new bill about the practice, which is currently legal until the10th week of pregnancy.

Akdağ said even the name of the current law concerning abortion, Law on Family Planning, is incorrect and out-of-date. While noting that the concept of family planning has been replaced with the concept of reproductive health in today’s world, he said, “The name of the law is reflected in the content of the law as well. We will make it more modern.”

The minister argued that the issue is to protect both the mother’s health and the baby’s right to life. “In its latest meeting in Lithuania, the World Health Organization’s regional director for Central Europe, maybe in the light of the debates in Turkey, uttered his triple concept: accessible, reliable and rare,” said Akdağ. “This is an important aspect of the issue.” “Letting everyone have an abortion does not benefit women,” he added.

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