Minister says gov’t will find ‘middle way’ in abortion controversy

Health Minister Recep Akdağ has said a government proposal on abortion to be submitted to the Cabinet will find a “middle way” that will protect both the mothers’ right to choose and the fetus’s right to life.

Answering questions raised by the press at the 10th International Turkish Olympiad, Minister Akdağ said the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Family and Social Policy, the Ministry of Justice and scientists are working together to produce a report with several suggestions for a proposal on abortion. Akdağ added that the report will first be submitted to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and subsequently to the Cabinet.

Prime Minister Erdoğan said last month that his government was preparing a draft bill on abortion and intended to sign it into law, a move likely to escalate a row over the medical procedure which the Turkish leader called “murder.”

Abortion until the 10th week after conception has been legal in Turkey since 1983. However, abortion rates have steadily declined since the practice became legal in 1983, though many Turks are choosing to have fewer children. At 14.8 abortions per 1,000 women in 2008, Turkey still trails far behind global UN figures of 28 per 1,000 or 27 per 1,000 in Europe.

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