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Premier Of Turkey Seeks Limits On Abortions 30 mai 2012

Posted by Acturca in Turkey / Turquie.
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The New York Times (USA) Wednesday, May 30, 2012, p. A9

By Sebnem Arsu, Istanbul

Calling abortion an act of murder and an insidious plan to reduce the Turkish population, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on Tuesday for legislation to restrict women’s access to the procedure.

Since 1983, abortion has been legal in Turkey for up to 10 weeks after conception, with emergency abortions allowed for medical reasons after that. Mr. Erdogan proposed outlawing all abortions that are not medically necessary, and limiting medically necessary abortions to the first eight weeks after conception, according to NTV, a private television news network.

« There is no difference in killing the fetus in a mother’s womb or killing a person after birth, » Mr. Erdogan said Tuesday, echoing comments he made Friday at the opening of a hospital in Istanbul and on Saturday to a group of female politicians in Ankara, the capital.

The prime minister also called for limits on Caesarean births, saying they were « nothing more than a procedure to restrict and square a nation’s population » because, he said, women who give birth that way generally cannot have more than one more child.

His remarks, which rekindled concerns about the intentions of the Islamic-rooted government, prompted reactions from various rights groups, including the Female Party Initiative, which organized a protest in Istanbul on Monday.

Benal Yazgan, the head of the group, said that « it is strictly for the woman to decide how she would give birth, or whether she would give birth at all or not — not the prime minister. »

Medical experts acknowledge that rates of Caesarean sections in Turkey are high, but they emphasize that better health care and education would reduce those figures. Restricting abortions, on the other hand, could lead to more mothers’ dying, they warn.

On Saturday, Mr. Erdogan also likened abortion to a military airstrike in December that mistakenly killed 34 civilians in Uludere, a village in the southeast, where Turkish forces are engaged against separatist Kurdish rebels.

« Every abortion is an Uludere, » he told female members of his Justice and Development Party in Ankara — comments that opposition parties called an effort to divert public attention away from the investigation into the attack, which caused a nationwide outcry.

Mr. Erdogan, who wants every married couple to have at least three children, dismissed criticism of his position, saying Friday that abortion « has no place in our values » and on Saturday that « our only goal is to elevate this country above the levels of developed civilizations, for which we need a young and dynamic population. »


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