ANKARA, June 27, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Turkish government has abandoned a plan to lower the abortion time limit in the wake of demonstrations opposing the change.

Earlier this month Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan incurred the wrath of the country’s pro-abortion feminists by proposing to reduce the limit on abortions to the first four to six weeks of pregnancy, from the current 10 weeks, a measure that critics complained would virtually eliminate surgical abortions in the country.

“The government has backed away from initial plans to curb abortion rights,” a parliamentary source told AFP, reportedly on condition of anonymity.

Abortion has been legal in Turkey since 1965 for medical reasons and was extended as a “right” to women within the first 10 weeks of pregnancy in 1983.

Other members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) reiterated the anonymous statement, adding, however, that the government believes abortion should not be a form of contraception or “family planning.”

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AKP legislator Nurettin Canikli told the Turkish daily Hurriyet, “The abortion issue is off the agenda. No legislation will be introduced to the parliament on this issue,” while Health Minister Recep Akdag said, “The matter is not ‘to ban or not to ban’ abortion. The matter is to let a new understanding prevail in Turkey compatible with certain principles and enact new regulations.”

“Abortion should never be a family planning method, or a method to prevent an unintended pregnancy,” Akdag added.

In May, Erdogan made a statement linking abortion and the increasing number of Caesarean births to an international population control agenda. Abortion, he said, was murder.

“No one should have the right to authorize it. Whether you kill the baby within the womb of his mother, or kill him after his birth, there’s no difference,” said Erdogan according to a Reuters report.

The prime minister also said that the purpose of abortion is “to prevent this country’s population from growing further.”

“I see abortion as murder, and I call upon those circles and members of the media who oppose my comments: You live and breathe Uludere. I say every abortion is an Uludere,” Erdogan stated, referring to a Turkish air raid in 2011 that accidentally killed 34 civilians on the Turkish-Iraqi border near the village of Uludere.

The prime minister also denounced the country’s epidemic level of C-section births, which he said have reached fifty percent of all births and are limiting population growth because of the harm the procedure can inflict on women.

Erdogan said he knows that “all of this is being done on purpose” as part of a population control campaign.