Is abortion legal in Turkey?

Turkey bans abortion drugs

The Turkish government has withdrawn from the market the drug misoprostol, which is used for medical abortion. This is what the international NGO Women on Waves reports on its website. So far, the drug has been easily available in Turkish pharmacies under the trade name Arthrotec.

In mid-May, the Turkish government had already caused a stir with plans to tighten abortion law. However, this change in abortion law was averted by numerous protests by women's organizations.

Limitation of the possibilities

According to plans by the ruling AKP party, the right to abortion in the first ten weeks of pregnancy, which has existed in Turkey since 1983, should be shortened to a period of four weeks before the parliamentary summer recess. The Turkish Minister of Health Recep Akda─č also wanted to ban abortions after rape. As early as May, Women on Waves and other NGOs criticized the fact that in the first four weeks of pregnancy many women did not even know that they were pregnant and that the proposed deadline amounted to a de facto ban on abortion.

The government's plans were averted by loud international protest, but with the banning of misoprostol - contained in the abortion pill Mifegyne in Austria - government politicians seem to have agreed to restrict access to abortion opportunities. With such restrictive access to misoprostol, a safe and problem-free abortion is not guaranteed, criticizes Women on Waves.

Right to health and self-determination

The active ingredient misoprostol is used in gynecology to induce labor and to support the medical abortion. Because of these important indications, the drug is on the WHO list of "Essential Medicines". Women on Waves emphasizes again and again that restrictive abortion rights and abortion bans would not prevent women from having an abortion, but rather curtail the right to health and self-determination of women. (eks,, July 23, 2012)