ANKARA, Turkey, May 8, 2014 ( – Abortions have increased by 139 percent in a decade, according to figures released by the nation of Turkey's health ministry.

The number of abortions has skyrocketed 33,000 in 2002 to 79,000 in 2012, according to the Health Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu.

The government said there were 29,226 in the first six months of 2012 alone, nearly as many as the total number of pregnancies that ended in abortion just 10 years earlier.


Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has attempted to restrict abortion to boost the nation's sagging birthrate. In May 2012, he made international headlines by saying, I see abortion as murder.”

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

He sought to reduce the time limit that women may legally obtain an abortion from 10 weeks to six.

Then-Health Minister Recep Akdag bolstered his argument, saying, “Abortion should never be a family planning method, or a method to prevent an unintended pregnancy.”

However, the Council of Europe’s “Equality and Non-Discrimination Committee” and Amnesty International condemned the pro-life proposal. The Council told Erdogan that it “urged the Turkish authorities not to allow any setback on women’s rights.”

Amnesty International warned the move would “put the life and health of female Turks in danger.”

Erdogan dropped the proposed reform that June.

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First legalized in 1965, abortion has been available in Turkey during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy since 1983.

A study conducted by Istanbul University Medical Faculty and published in the World Journal of Surgical Oncology in 2009 found that Turkish women who had an abortion had a 66 percent higher risk of developing breast cancer