Turkey’s Prime Minister has expressed his anti-abortion stance in surprisingly strong words for a politician, albeit an Islamic one, linking the procedure to murder and saying the resulting curb in population growth is ‘crippling’ for Turkey’s economy. Abortion has been legal in Turkey for the last 40 years. For us in New Zealand, it is hard to imagine a politician or judge standing up for the rights of the baby in the womb – a ‘foetus’ is not defined as a legal person here. It is also interesting that the tide seems to be turning on the population debate in that politicians are starting to link economic success and population growth.
Turkey’s cabinet is currently debating a report by the Health Ministry which may result in abortion either being made illegal, or legal only in the first ten weeks of pregnancy in certain cases. The Health Minister squarely backs the Prime Minister saying that women’s rights are a separate issue to abortion because the baby itself already has rights. Bloomberg reports :
"Health Minister Recep Akdag told reporters in the Ankara parliament today [May 30, 2012] 'The thought that a live being is destroyed has been completely missing from all the commentary' by opponents of a ban."
Bloomberg further reports Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as saying at a conference last week on population and development:
'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.'
PS: Another country’s leader is putting his money where his mouth is over the issue of abortion. Here is an interesting story about Liechtenstein’s Hereditary Prince Alois. He is threatening to stand down if his power of veto is limited. (He had threatened to veto a referendum last year should the majority vote in favour of legalising abortion.)