Outcry over woman jailed for abortion in north
By Kyriacos Kiliaris
A heated discussion was ignited in the Turkish Cypriot community after the imprisonment of a young woman for having an illegal abortion.
The incident also caused an uproar among feminist activists and groups who have raised their voice against the court’s decision.
The young Turkish Cypriot woman was imprisoned for ending her pregnancy after the 10 week period allowed under the regulations.
The court found her guilty of ending her pregnancy in an illegal manner in the 17th week, while “there was no health reason to justify such a deed,” as the judge declared.
The discussion was transferred to the assembly hall with the women assembly members of the main opposition party, the Turkish Republican Party (CTP), coming down hard on the relevant regulation demanding that it changes.
Dogus Derya, a leading figure of the CTP and a well-known activist for women’s rights, while talking at the assembly said that she found the decision to sentence the young woman to nine months in prison a disgrace and indicates that lawmakers are influenced by the culture of male hegemony.
Derya said that the decision aims to send a message to women. “A pregnancy lasts nine months. So if you have an abortion we will send you to prison for nine months,” explained Derya.
“What, you think a woman is crazy and wants to end a pregnancy? A woman does not end a pregnancy for no reason,” said Derya.
She also criticised the lawmakers for the existing law.
“In some countries the time period allowed for an abortion is 16 to 20 weeks,” Derya told lawmakers in the assembly and called for a change in the regulation which will comply with human rights.
Derya reminded the assembly that just two years ago a 14-year-old rape victim was forced to deliver the child as the 10 week period had elapsed.
“This is unacceptable and I feel ashamed of this.”