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Turkey

Abortion In Turkey: New Restrictions Spark Protests

A women's right to an abortion is rapidly vanishing in Turkey, as Prime Minister Erdogan recently called it "murder."

Turkish women at a crossroads (Steve Evans)
Turkish women at a crossroads (Steve Evans)

ISTANBUL - Women's rights advocates in Turkey have taken to the streets of Istanbul to protest Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's call to restrict women's access to abortion and caesarean birth procedures.

About 2,000 men and women gathered in Istanbul's Anatolian center, Kadikoy, on Sunday, waving banners and chanting against the forthcoming legislation, which would severely limit the right of women to have an abortion. "Long Live Solidarity of Women" read one sign. " Abortion is a Right" read another.

Many women chanted about honor killings, saying that banning abortion will feed further violence and violations of women's rights. Protesters warned that the banning of abortion will only push the practice underground, where unsafe procedures can lead to far more deaths of women.

"Whether it is about our body, abortion, labor, or sexuality; we will not allow limitation to our rights," protestors chanted.

The women participating in the march demanded that contraception and modern sex education be made more accessible for women.

A significant number of men attended the protest and a deputy from the Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) offered his support to the women leading the protest.

Last week, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan spoke about the issue, calling abortion "murder," referring to it as an insidious plan and calling for legislation to restrict women's access to it.

Abortion has been legal in Turkey for almost 40 years, albeit only for pregnancies up to 10 weeks and emergency abortions for medical complications that occur after that. Now, Erdogan proposes that the procedure be banned altogether, unless there is a medical emergency within eight weeks of conception.

Read the full story in Turkish

Photo - Steve Evans

*This is a digest item, not a direct translation

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Society

Colombia Celebrates Its Beloved Drug For The Ages, Coffee

This essential morning drink for millions worldwide was once considered an addictive menace, earning itself a ban on pain of death in the Islamic world.

Colombia's star product: coffee beans.

Julián López de Mesa Samudio

-Essay-

BOGOTÁ — October 1st is International Coffee Day. Recently it seems as if every day of the calendar year commemorates something — but for Colombia, coffee is indeed special.

For almost a century now we have largely tied our national destiny, culture and image abroad to this drink. Indeed it isn't just Colombia's star product, it became through the course of the 20th century the world's favorite beverage — and the most commonly used drug to boost work output.

Precisely for its stimulating qualities — and for being a mild drug — coffee was not always celebrated, and its history is peppered with the kinds of bans, restrictions and penalties imposed on the 'evil' drugs of today.

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