The causes behind abortion cannot be resolved through legal bans or moral denunciation, according to Dr. Zahidul Huque, the representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to Turkey, who stressed that prohibiting abortion would induce women to resort to illegal and unsanitary methods that would lead to new perils for their health.
The Turkey Population Health Surveys that are conducted once every five years have also revealed that the use of abortion has progressively declined, while it is employed increasingly less frequently as a form of birth control, Dr. Gökhan Yıldırımkaya, the UNFPA's Reproductive Health National Coordinator, also told bianet.
UNFPA has been collaborating for long years with the Ministry of Health by providing technical and financial assistance for the training of the educators employed by the ministry in various programs. It also supports education programs intended for youngsters through the agency of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) by providing technical and financial assistance for them, as well as additional support for their content material.
Dr. Yıldırımkaya made the following suggestions to most effectively reduce the demand for abortion:
*Adding structured instructions on sexual and reproductive health that is suitable for respective age groups starting from primary school,
*Proliferating peer education programs intended for youngsters on sexual and reproductive health,
*Proliferating Youth Friendly Health Service Centers,
*Preventing all unwanted pregnancies before they happen,
*Providing wide-spread, high-quality and continuous family planning services at every level and bringing all related services and materials under general health insurance programs,
*Strengthening the status of women,
*Increasing men's participation in reproductive health issues,
*Preventing social misconceptions about family planning and ensuring that society has good access to informative knowledge by collaborating with civil servants, including theological experts,
*Implementing work on creating awareness and fulfilling society's need for information over reproductive health indefinitely through cooperation with the relevant ministries and institutions.
*Implementing all action plans secured in the 1994 Cairo Declaration on Population and Development and which rest on human rights. (This declaration places women's health and rights at the center of population planning policies.)
"The legalization of abortion in 1983 did away with the victimization of women"
Preventing unwanted pregnancies can be achieved through proliferating accessible and acceptable birth control methods at reasonable prices and providing sufficient information and education for youngsters, women, men, their families and their futures so as to allow them to be able to choose freely, Dr. Huque said in a written statement.
"A great majority of women in Turkey used to resort to unsanitary methods of abortion prior to 1983 when abortion was banned, and abortions conducted in unsanitary conditions constituted one of society's most significant problems in the 1970s. The legalization [of abortion] and the provision of this service by trained personnel did away with the victimization of women," he said.
"Abortion rates also fell in comparison with those years when it was banned, as modern birth control methods spread after 1983. The most effective way to prevent abortion is to provide modern birth control methods, and when unwanted pregnancies are obviated, then abortion will be rendered unnecessary," he added. (Ç.T.)