Turkey pushes efforts to reduce abortion

July 19, 2012 at 10:58 AM
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ISTANBUL, Turkey, July 19 (UPI) -- Women in Turkey who undergo an abortion after 10 weeks of pregnancy could be sentenced to up to three years in prison under a proposed bill, officials said.

The Ministry of Health is working on draft legislation that would extend the current sentence from one year, Today's Zaman reported Thursday. Abortion is legal in Turkey during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.

Health officials say they're moving forward with the proposal after comments in May by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he is unhappy with Turkey's abortion rate.

Hurriyet Daily News said the bill was presented to Turkey's cabinet earlier this week.

The Ministry of Health said the bill calls for the development of programs to counsel against abortion and free distribution of the morning-after pill.

In an effort to encourage women to carry their pregnancies to term, the government would extend maternity leave from four months to six.

The bill will be presented to Parliament in October, Today's Zaman said.

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