Religious Zealots Move to Ban Abortion in Turkey — Hey, Just Like in the US!

Illustration for article titled Religious Zealots Move to Ban Abortion in Turkey — Hey, Just Like in the US!

Tale as old as time: the theocratic, male-dominated government is ignoring its country's other, more important problems in favor of focusing on limiting women's rights. But this saga isn't occurring stateside; it's happening in Turkey. And the women there aren't taking it lying down.

According to the AP, thousands of women in the Middle Eastern country took to the streets yesterday in protest of a proposed new law that would ban abortions after 4 weeks' gestation. Since 4 weeks isn't a whole heckuva lot of time to know whether or not you're pregnant, the new guidelines would effectively ban abortion entirely.

The debate sounds painfully like the debate we're having here in the US, endlessly and forever. Protesting Turkish women in favor of abortion rights are carrying signs that say things like "My body, my choice." Their supportive boyfriends and husbands are carrying signs that say things like "My darling's body, my darling's choice" (a slogan that I hope catches on here, because it's adorable). And those in government who don't think women should have dominion over what occurs within the boundaries of their own skin argue that it isn't actually the woman's body, it's the fetus's body, and the fetus has a right to commandeer the woman's body like some sort of non-sentient pilot because God lives inside that baby. Or something.


But, like the abortion debate here in the US, it's never just as simple as one side thinking that fetuses are people and the other side thinking that women are people. Kurds living in Turkey have a much higher birth rate than native Turks, and with their booming population comes more agitation and clamoring for rights — one Kurd-heavy region of the country seeks to break from Turkey and become its own independent country. And some xenophobes fear that if the high Kurd birth rate continues to eclipse the native Turk birth rate, soon the place will be overrun with Kurds. Outlawing abortion will prevent Turkish women from having abortions, which, in theory, will prevent Kurdish takeover. (If you want to read about the racial component to the abortion debate in America, read that paragraph again, but replace "Kurds" with "non-whites, especially Latinos" and "Turks" with "White Americans" and replace the part about separatism with something about bilingual evening newscasts and basic protection for undocumented immigrants).

As in the US, non-majority race takeover isn't something that citizens of Turkey would have to "worry" about (if it's even a worrisome event) for several generations, but that hasn't prevented leaders from coopting religious and spiritual language in order to promote a racist and xenophobic agenda. And all at the expense of the ladies.

How lovely to be a woman.

It's truly a shame that religious politicians in the US aren't able to get past their differences with the theocratic regimes in Middle East the Ashcroft set insists are Threatening Our Freedom — it seems that conservatives and the Middle Eastern theocrats upon whom they've got a war crush on have a whole lot in common.



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I don't understand. Ending abortion in America would increase the birth rate of minority (both non-white AND female) babies since they have the highest rates of abortion.