No to Legislation that Restricts Abortion in Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey, 24 June 2012


A dangerous backlash is taking place in Turkey in favour of a very restrictive approach to legislation on abortion. Abortion has been legal in Turkey since 1983, albeit only for pregnancies up to 10 weeks and emergency abortions for medical complications that occur after that.

As a result in Turkey like in many other countries in the world maternal mortality has been reduced from 67 to 20 in every 100,000 live births according to estimates of the World Health Organisation, UNICEF, United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, and the World Bank for the years 1990-2010.

However, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government recently proposed such a severe restriction on abortion that this means a ban on abortion altogether. This is in accordance with the declaration of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who compared abortion to an act of murder. Sharpening legislation on abortion often implies a death sentence for women, in particular for the more disadvantaged ones.

This attack on the sexual and reproductive rights of women is part of a wider plan meant to build a conservative, misogynous and fundamentalist society and this way destroy the secular tradition and culture of Turkey.

Therefore the Socialist International Women acknowledging women's right to self-determination and ‘to decide freely and responsibly on the number and spacing of their children and to have access to the information, education and means to enable them to exercise these rights’ as stated in article 16.1e of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) to which Turkey is a signatory:

Stresses that sexual and reproductive rights are human rights;

Denounces this attack on women's human rights and demands that any manoeuvres to abolish abortion be stopped immediately and

Supports women's organisations and human rights activists in their actions to defend the sexual and reproductive rights of women, including the right to safe abortion.

Finally the Socialist International Women urges all regional, national and, international actors and institutions, including the European Union and in particular governments lead by socialists and social democrats and all member parties of the Socialist International to take a firm stand against the recent developments on abortion in Turkey.




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58 Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), United Nations, New York, from 10 to 21 March 2014.

Panel discussion hosted by the Permanent Mission of Mexico to the United Nations and the Socialist International Women.

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A Short History of Socialist International Women

By Irmtraut Karlsson

This book tells the history of the first one hundred years of the Socialist International Women