Turkish Women Protest PM’s ‘Abortion is Murder’ Legislation Push


Turkish women took to the streets on Sunday to march against government plans to heavily restrict, or even entirely scrap, abortion access.

Reports CNN:

The protesters who convened Sunday marched to Istanbul’s busy Taksim Square, carrying signs that read “AKP: Get your hands off my body,” “Murder is outlawing abortion,” and “Abortion is a right. Uludere is a massacre.”


“The prime minster is conservative. He does have Islamist sensibilities as well as his party, obviously, so he is trying to impose his understanding of faith and what Islam demands and so on to the rest of the population,” said Binnaz Toprak, an opposition party Parliamentarian attending Sunday’s march. “But at the same time I also feel that this is a cover-up for the Uludere massacre.”

Abortion up until the 10th week of pregnancy was legalized in Turkey in 1983 and has rarely, if ever, inspired much public debate in the three decades since. Public support today also seems to remain high, with a poll commissioned by Turkish newspaper Haberturk indicating that 55.5% of Turks do not support a ban on abortion.

Last month Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan reportedly said in a party speech, “I see abortion as murder–I am asking you: what’s the difference between killing a baby inside a mother’s womb and killing a baby after birth?”

Erdogan also drew a false equivalency between abortion and the Uludere airstrike where on December 28, 2011, two Turkish jets, acting on information that PKK militants were crossing the border, killed 34 unarmed civilians. Erdogan said “each abortion is one Uludere.”

Erdogan has also made it known that he would like to restrict caesarean sections. He maintains caesarean sections are part of a “secret foreign plot” to stymie Turkey’s growth–he has yet to present evidence for this, however.

The government’s health minister, Recep Akdag, issued a statement soon after Erdogan’s party talk saying he would be submitting a proposal on this matter to lawmakers, which has sparked fears that the religious conservative led parliament is preparing to restrict, if not entirely block, access to pregnancy termination services.

Sunday’s protest is one in a long line of marches by pro-choice and women’s rights advocates in the country.


Related Reading:
Turkish PM: Abortion Is Like Murder
Michigan Dems Perform ‘Vagina Monologues’ In Response to GOP Censorship
VA Board Of Health Passes Modified Abortion Regulations

Photo by openDemocracy


devon leonard
Devon Leonard5 years ago

..i certainly hope we don't lose any ground here in America on this issue...

Ian Fletcher
Ian Fletcher5 years ago

Come on Erdogan please! Give women a break, the last thing they need is more Islamic dogma. Let women all over the world live their own lives. Men have had their say over women for far too long. It's time to be fair and let them decide what's right for them. So if you want to be a real man and a real hero Erdogan, respect women.
Is that too much to ask?

Robin Turner
Robin Turner5 years ago

@Steve You are right that the current government is Islamist (albeit mildly so), but in this case they are copying their counterparts on the other side of the Atlantic - Erdoğan even mentioned the US anti-abortion movement in his speech. Abortion is legal in the first trimester in Islamic jurisprudence, as local theologians were quick to point out. It's rather like modern Islamic anti-evolutionists who seem unaware that a theory evolution was proposed by Al Jahiz a thousand years before Darwin.

Steve R.
Steve R5 years ago

Methinks the Turkish women need to remember that their government is an ISLAMIST one!

I'm surprised that abortion has ever even been legal in Turkey.

And as in America, their protests and demands are very likely to lead to ever more severe restrictions on the abortion rights they did have.

Sigh - seems the so-called pro-choice crowd will never learn....

Suzanne Osborne
Suzanne Osborne5 years ago

Petition signed.

Jen Matheson
Past Member 5 years ago

Good for these women!

Claire M.
Claire M5 years ago

I lived in Turkey as a military person in the early 80s during the Cold War. GIs used to joke that the only middle class were the Americans and prostitutes. It may sound harsh but it wasn't far from the truth. I was young but I had never heard of such a gap in an economy until then. That being said there was a social problem with women who were divorced, widowed or who had husbands in prison and were not from high class families. These women often supplemented their meager income as house keepers , nannies or salon workers with what were known as "dates". There were late night clubs for men where they would bring these dates where nothing but hard liquor was served, most especially the opium laced Raki [I know wiki doesn't mention the opium but if you lived there back then you would be told differently]. What does Turkey think its going to do in a culture where this kind of thing is deeply entrenched if women can not keep from being pregnant? If things have not changed the government it self runs a brothels called the compound offering women in prison the opportunity to work of their dept to Turkish society as prostitutes. I have to wonder what they plan to do with all these babies.

Drusilla P.
Drusilla P5 years ago

It's good that the ladies are getting vocal and are not letting the "boys" get away with this.

Vasu M.
.5 years ago

Turkey is an anomaly in the Muslim world: a secular democracy with democratically elected leaders, and the men and women dress in contemporary Western styles. I didn't know abortion was legal there, but hey, honor killings still occur there, too.

Deborah Wasko
Deborah W5 years ago

Supporters on both sides ... call it what you think it is. Those in power have the power. Don't like the results you hope for ... vote accordingly or shut up. (I call it murder.)