Turkey May Ban Abortion as Erdogan Won’t Allow ‘Murder’

Turkey’s Cabinet will debate a Health Ministry report on abortion that may include a ban, less than a week after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan likened the procedure to murder.

Women’s rights are unrelated to abortion and Turkey must prevent its use as a means of birth control, Health Minister Recep Akdag told reporters in the Ankara parliament today. “The thought that a live being is destroyed has been completely missing from all the commentary” by opponents of a ban, said Akdag, adding that health reasons will be excluded from the government’s abortion discussions.

Erdogan sparked the row last week when he told the women’s arm of the governing Justice and Development Party that abortion is murder and its proponents are trying to cripple Turkey’s economic success by curbing population growth. The premier said today that Turkey is seeking to follow in the steps of anti-abortion movements in the U.S. and the West.

“There’s no difference between killing a fetus in the mother’s womb and killing someone after birth,” he said at a hospital opening in Istanbul. “This cannot be allowed.”

Erdogan said the government will push through legislation on abortion, without elaborating.

Opposition parties say the prime minister is seeking to divert attention from a debate on the killing of 34 civilians who were misidentified as terrorists in a December airstrike. Erdogan said each abortion is akin to that bombing.

Akdag declined to directly answer questions on whether Turkey would move to ban the procedure. He said the Cabinet will discuss issues such as abortion in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, when the likelihood of health complications for women is lower.

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