The Turkish Parliament has passed a new law restricting Cesarean births, which can now only be carried out in cases of utmost medical necessity.
Wednesday's enactment comes in the wake of statistics on C-section births released by the Health Ministry which had sparked debate on the topic. In May, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had voiced his opposition to C-section births, and described abortion as a crime, following which the new law was passed in order to reduce the number of births by Cesarean operation. His remarks had drawn fire from women activists who staged protest rallies in several Turkish cities.
C-section births in Turkey in 2009 was 39.3 percent of all births in public hospitals, 61.8 percent in private hospitals and 63.2 percent in university hospitals. In 2010 the rates increased to 40.2 percent, 63.7 percent and 65.2 percent respectively. By 2011 it stood at 36.8 percent of all deliveries in public hospitals, 66.6 percent in private hospitals and 65.9 percent in university hospitals, indicating an increase in C-sections, Turkish media reported.
The acceptable percentage of C-section births according to the World Health Organization (WHO) is between 15 and 18 percent. The Health Ministry launched a media campaign earlier this year to help curb increasing rates of births by C-section, and set a target to reduce the rate to 35 percent by 2013.
Even before the Ministry's campaign began, Health Minister Recep Akdag urged women to exercise due caution with C-sections. The Ministry conducted several studies to determine how best to reduce the rate, and worked with hospitals to devise feasible solutions, such as enhancing the training of doctors, and better informing the public about birth options and the potential risks of C-sections.
In addition, the Social Security Institution (SGK) reduced state financial support for C-sections from TL 675 ($374) to TL 475 ($263) and increased support for natural births from TL 250 ($138) to TL 400 ($221), the report said.
by RTT Staff Writer
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