Turkish Society’s Views on Abortion since 1990

14 Jun

Support for the right to abortion has declined considerably in Turkey since 1990, according to a public opinion survey published by Istanbul’s Bahçeşehir University. Religion, education and ideology constitute the main indicators that influence an individual’s stance on abortion.

The “Turkish and European Public on Abortion 1990-2011” opinion survey published on May 29, 2012 by Bahçeşehir University’s Center for Economic and Social Research (BETAM) indicates that support for the right to abortion has progressively declined in Turkey since 1990.

The report prepared by Prof. Yılmaz Esmer was based on the “World and European Values Surveys” in 1990, 2001 and 2008 and reflected the respondents’ views on abortion under different circumstances, such as when “the mother’s life is in danger,” when there is “a high probability of a birth defect,” when the “mother is unmarried,” and when a “married couple do not want additional children.”

83 percent support for abortion in 1990

Support for the right to abortion was conspicously high in 1990 when Turkey participated in the World Values Survey for the first time:

*83 percent supported abortion in cases when the mother’s life was imperiled.

*76 percent backed abortion when there was a high probability of a birth defect.

*65 percent favored the right to abortion when the mother was unwed.

*61 percent supported it when a married couple did not want to have any additional children.

Leading determinants: Education, faith, ideology

The rate of support for abortion in cases when married couples do not want additional children stood at its lowest among survey participants who have not completed primary school, with only 23 in favor, while the same rate rose to 28 percent among primary school graduates, to 36 percent among secondary and high school graduates and up to 44 percent among university graduates.

The following conclusions thus appeared in the report:

*There is a strong correlation between levels of education and the stance on abortion. As education levels rise, support for the right to abortion increases markedly.

*Support for abortion as an alternative method of birth control is lower than half even among the most-educated, according to data from 2008. If the mother is unwed, however, then roughly half of the most-educated approve of abortion.

*Support for abortion as an alternative method of birth control falls to the degree that religion is important for an individual.

*As the significance of god in an individual’s life increases, support for abortion falls accordingly.

*As an individual’s political ideology leans from the left to the right, support for abortion decreases consequentially.

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