Turkish feminists fight bill to curb abortion rights

Thousands of feminists and activists sent a petition to several Turkish government ministries on Tuesday to protest a bill that would ban abortions beyond the first six weeks of pregnancy.

"To prohibit abortion or introduce limits making it de facto impossible violates women's right to health and life," read the petition, signed by 55,000 people and 900 organizations.

The bill is "a new display of conservative policies that do not regard women as equal" to men, it said.

The legislation proposed by the ruling Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) would require all abortions to take place between the fourth and sixth weeks of pregnancy, down from the current 10.

Some 50 activists rallied at the Istanbul post office where they mailed the petition, waving placards reading "AKP, Get Your Hands Off My Body" and "Abortion Is not a Crime, Banning It Is."

Secular Turkey legalized abortion for medical reasons in 1965, broadening the right in 1983 to all women in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.

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