The variety of abortions in Turkmenistan has not decreased regardless of a just lately enforced ban, as many ladies now pay bribes to terminate their undesirable pregnancies, girls and docs say.
Simply days after the authoritarian nation’s new president — Serdar Berdymukhammedov — succeeded his father and took energy in March, the federal government unveiled a regulation that successfully bans abortion after 5 weeks of being pregnant, besides if it poses critical well being dangers to the mom or little one.
The regulation — which was initially adopted in 2015 however wasn’t ever made public or enforced — caught everybody unexpectedly, in accordance with the Saglyk (Well being) web site run by Turkmen activists and medics overseas.
Girls have been barred from the entrance seats of autos. Authorities have banned girls from carrying heavy make-up and utilizing eyelash extensions or pretend nails. Breast implants and lip augmentation have additionally been banned.
The regulation shortens the interval throughout which girls are allowed to terminate an undesirable being pregnant with out well being causes from 12 weeks to 5 weeks.
A Turkmen physician who focuses on reproductive well being points slammed the regulation, saying most girls don’t even know they’re pregnant within the first 5 weeks.
The regulation permits exemptions for sure well being points, but it surely stipulates that such an exemption can solely be granted by a particular medical fee after present process plenty of medical exams, in the end delaying abortion and growing well being dangers for the mom.
Citing a number of sufferers and medical sources, RFE/RL correspondents in Turkmenistan say the ban has paved the best way for extra corruption in girls’s clinics and hospitals.
The sources stated girls who need to finish a being pregnant pay bribes to obstetricians, who falsely register the affected person’s go to as a preventative checkup or session.
The affected person formally pays a session payment after which “individually gives money bribes for an abortion,” they added.
In Turkmenistan, the place corruption is rife in nearly all spheres, individuals say “each drawback could be resolved with cash,” a supply stated.
The quantity of the bribe for an abortion ranges between $100 and $500 relying on how superior the being pregnant is, medical sources within the metropolis of Mary stated, including that it’s cheaper when the affected person approaches a health care provider within the early months.
It additionally varies in several cities and areas. At a girls’s well being heart in Lebap Province, one supply stated sufferers pay as much as $340 in bribes for an abortion within the later levels of being pregnant.
Restricted Entry To Contraceptives
The ban on abortion comes as a major variety of reproductive-age girls in Turkmenistan don’t have entry to contraceptives, in accordance with the United Nations Inhabitants Fund (UNPFA), which goals to enhance reproductive and maternal well being worldwide.
In line with the UNPFA, there are nonetheless “about 160,000 girls [in Turkmenistan] aged 15-49 who wish to forestall or delay their being pregnant however should not utilizing trendy contraceptives.”
The explanations are completely different for every lady and vary from a lack of expertise about companies to a scarcity of assist from their mother and father, husband, or communities, in addition to the power to determine or buy contraceptives by themselves, the company stated.
In Turkmenistan’s conservative society, almost 60 p.c of girls aren’t in a position to independently determine on these elementary points — contraceptives and abortions — that impacts their lives and well being.
Abortion is frowned upon by many older Turkmen, however the youthful era has a extra liberal view towards it. Turkmen normally have giant households, however youthful, city Turkmen are having fewer youngsters, with some blaming shrinking household sizes on financial hardship.
Turkmenistan’s digital ban on abortions has gone largely unnoticed by the media, because it was revealed similtaneously many different restrictions affecting girls’s lives.
Girls have been barred from the entrance seats of autos in all the things from personal vehicles to public transport. Police throughout the nation have stopped and fined drivers who defied the ban, even when the feminine passenger was a member of the family.
Authorities have additionally banned girls from carrying heavy make-up and utilizing eyelash extensions or pretend nails. Breast implants and lip augmentation have additionally been banned, together with eyebrow tinting — one thing that grew to become widespread amongst Turkmen girls in recent times.
Moreover, working girls are pressured to submit a written pledge to administration that they will not put on tight-fitting garments or use heavy make-up.
The bans got here with none official announcement or rationalization from the federal government. Girls discovered concerning the measures from their employers or from police, who started implementing the ban in late March and early April.