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Abortion in Turkey

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Abortion in Turkey

Abortion in Turkey is legal until the 10th week after the conception, although that can be extended to the 20th week if the pregnancy threatens the woman's mental and/or physical health, or if the conception occurred through rape. The woman's consent is required. If the woman is married, the consent of the husband is also required. Single women over the age of 18 can choose to have an abortion on their own.

Although Turkey has a nationalized health care system and relatively progressive abortion laws, "abortion services and related procedures are restricted to obstetricians" and "the lack of obstetricians, especially in rural areas, limits women's access to safe abortion services in time." Abortion patients complain about the limited information given to them before going through with the procedure. Only 8% of women undergoing the procedure were told about the immediate return to fertility afterwards, 9% were informed about the risk of infection, only 56% were told what to do if they experienced any post abortion problems. Nevertheless, the examination for women who came for an abortion almost always included obtaining the date of the last menstrual period (72%) as well as a pelvic examination (81%). Opinion polls showed that women in Turkey still generally thought that they need more information on the procedure, especially those doing it for the first time. "Many abortion patients expected to be in pain but not to the extent that they felt after the procedure" and approximately one-half of the abortion patients did not receive any medication for pain during the procedure. Less than one-half (44%) of the abortion patients were told what to do if they experienced any post-abortion problems.

Despite issues, the understanding and education about abortion has improved, and the procedure has become safer since its legalization in 1983. The legalization followed a period of high mortality rates among pregnant women seeking unsafe abortions due to the lack of access to the legal, professional procedure.

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