Erdogan and abortion, part deux

Friday, June 1, 2012

Regarding my post from a couple of days ago, another point regarding this issue that I wish I'd made above: Erdogan is also speaking out against caesarean births. This strikes me as an attempt to discuss a cultural/class issue, rather than a strictly religious one.
Caesarean births also seem quite common in Turkey. The attitude among the middle class people I knew--men and women--struck me as interesting when I first started living in Istanbul. Having a c-section, whether it was medically necessary or not, appeared to be a lot more accepted and normal-seeming than it was in the US. That's the way it seemed, at any rate, based on the attitudes of the people I knew. I taught private lessons to practically an entire (and entirely male) test-tube baby team at the German Hospital back in the 1990s, and it was interesting hearing their attitudes regarding c-sections. As was the case with the moms and single women I knew, the doctors talked about scheduling c-sections in terms of their predictability. In a city with Istanbul's traffic, people tell me, it would be too dangerous to leave things to chance. What if you got caught in rush hour traffic?
Andrew Finkel gives some statistics in his piece in the IHT on Wednesday (of which Finkel writes "This is a mistake that may have tragic consequences.")
No one should dispute Erdogan’s right to raise the issue of women’s health. A well-respected 2008 report by Hacettepe University estimates that 22 percent of women in Turkey who ever married have had induced abortions. The use of C-sections is also widespread. In 2008, some 41 percent of birthing women in Turkey opted for the procedure instead of natural delivery, and the figure was 62 percent among the well-off. (The optimal rate, according to WHO, is 15 percent.)

Anyway, the coupling of caesarean births with abortion is interesting. I wonder how many strong opponents of abortion would really consider c-sections a sin. My students back at the German hospital told me they'd had plenty of wealthy but pious patients who had c-sections.

I'm still digesting all of this, and not yet sure what exactly I think of it all. Maybe Erdogan thinks it's a political winner. Or perhaps he's simply at the point in his career when he thinks "Screw it! If I can't do this, what's the point of being Prime Minister?"

Maybe this is the sort of thing you do when you don't fear anyone.


It will be interesting to see how these issues will be treated in the new Constitution that is currently being prepared...


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.