Abortion after Rape: Judge Ignored the Law
The Turkish law allows abortion until the 20th week of pregnancy in case a woman got pregnant because of rape. Yet, a judge dismissed the request for abortion, saying that he would not be exploited for murder. Rights defenders criticized the decision.
İstanbul - BIA News Center
29 April 2010, Thursday
Judge Recep Baş from the Istanbul 5th Magistrate Criminal Court dismissed the request for abortion put forward by the family of a 17-year-old girl who got pregnant as the result of rape.
Judge Baş equated abortion with murder, saying "I cannot be an instrument of murder". The judge dismissed the request for abortion reasoning that the duration of pregnancy had exceeded 10 weeks. The girl's lawyer appealed against the decision and applied to the prosecutor's office. Public Prosecutor Salih Türkyılmaz also stated though that "abortion is not done".
Nazik Işık from the Women's Platform against Sexual Violence emphasized that in case of rape abortion is legally allowed till the 20th week of pregnancy. Moreover, she said that the young age of the girl should have been considered for the decision.
"The parents have the right to speak as well since the girl is underage. The request of a girl that got pregnant because of rape should not be dismissed but the usual procedure should be implied instead. Actually, the real murder happened when the girl was raped. The girl has been forced by law to continue an unwanted pregnancy", Işık argued.
Court decision against the law
Lawyer Yasemin Öz criticized that the judge did not take into consideration article 99 of the Turkish Criminal Code (TCK) which orders that "If a women gets pregnant as the result of having been exposed to a crime, an abortion before the 20th week of pregnancy with the consent of the women shall not be punished".
Lawyer Öz furthermore criticized the judge's reason for the decision, "The judge's comment that 'this is murder' is particularly against the law. Abortion is regulated by law. The judge's decision and reasoning against this regulation means that he does not recognize the state's laws. An investigation should be initiated into the judge and he should be deposed from office".
Öz indicated that this kind of decisions can be taken despite the law especially in the field of women's rights. "In the legal implementations we see once more the attitude that the women's body is owned by society and not by the woman herself", Öz claimed. (BT/EÜ/VK)