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Turkish PM calls for abortion restrictions

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan [official website, in Turkish] has called for stricter regulations on abortions [JURIST backgrounder] and Caesarean births in Turkey, a Turkish television network reported Tuesday. Among his desired reforms are restricting the reasons a woman may seek an abortion, limiting the time period in which a woman may obtain a "medically necessary" abortion, and strictly regulating Caesarean births, which are performed at an unusually high rate in the country. Erdogan's statement was one of several recent calls [NYT report] by the prime minister to limit abortions and Caesarean births performed in Turkey. Erdogan, who supports large family sizes, believes that the two procedures are key problems contributing to small family sizes. Abortions are currently legal in Turkey and available to women up to 10 weeks into a pregnancy; after 10 weeks, they are banned except due to medical necessity.

Abortion rights have been a contentious issue in the international community. In September, voters in Liechtenstein rejected a proposal [JURIST report] to legalize abortion in the country after the acting Head of State expressed displeasure with the law and threatened to veto the proposed change. In August 2010, the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) [advocacy website] criticized [JURIST report] the restrictive abortion laws of the Philippines as a "human rights crisis," resulting in the death of thousands of women annually. In January 2010, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] argued that Ireland's restrictive abortion laws increase health risks to women [JURIST report] and expose them to deliberate misinformation about abortion procedures. In July 2009, Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] called on Nicaragua to end its total ban on abortions [JURIST report], calling for the country to eliminate severe criminal punishments for those who seek or perform abortions.

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