Abortion in Turkey is getting more difficult

Turkish women's access to abortion is becoming increasingly limited under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's conservative government, Fariba Nawa, a human rights-focused journalist, said in an article for U.S.-based global news program The World on Monday. 

Abortion has been legal in Turkey since 1983, but Erdoğan and his governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) have gradually curbed access over the past decade, Nawa said.

Erdoğan and his Islamist-rooted AKP have drawn the ire of opposition parties and many analysts for violating the secular principles of Turkey and limiting the civil liberties of women. The president has called for every woman to have three children, repeatedly comparing abortion to murder and proposing limits on abortion rights and the morning-after pill. 

Public hospitals are permitted to refuse women access to abortions based on what Erdoğan says, rather than the law, so women from poorer backgrounds, many of them Syrian refugees, are turning to illegal back-alley clinics instead, Nawa said.

A 2016 report on abortions in state hospitals published by Kadir Has University in Istanbul said only 7.8 percent of state hospitals performed non-emergency abortions, while 11.8 percent did not terminate pregnancies at all.