From Der Spiegel (Germany)
SPIEGEL: How does Islam view the issue of abortion, and does the Quran address this issue? Are devout Muslims prohibited from terminating pregnancies?
Özkes: The Quran does not contain any direct statement regarding abortion. It only says that “Allah breathes his spirit into man.” However, we do not know exactly when this occurs. Therefore, there are different interpretations. There is no common opinion held by all Muslims. The experts — medical professionals, psychologists, and women — must decide on this question. The Diyanet (Presidency of Religious Affairs) issued a fatwa permitting abortion for Bosnian women. After all, the health of the mother is also of central importance. Islam does not provide an absolute prohibition. It always depends on the circumstances: the overall situation, the health of the mother and child, and the surrounding circumstances.
SPIEGEL: But how has Turkey dealt with abortion in the past? Has the religious authority, the Diyanet, ever expressed an opinion?
Özkes: The last time the Diyanet spoke on the issue of abortion was 10 years ago, namely with respect to women who had been raped during the war in Bosnia. In the relevant fatwa, the authority held that these women should be permitted to terminate their pregnancies. Islam, unlike the Christian churches, puts the life of the mother above that of the unborn child.
SPIEGEL: So you can reconcile it with your religion if abortion stays legally available in Turkey?
Özkes: I am not in favour of a ban because this would only result in more deaths of women, and in the recent past Turkey has been very successful in reducing the mortality of mothers. I don’t know how abortion should be regulated in detail. Whether a (pregnancy term limit) of eight weeks is appropriate or whether the currently legal period of ten weeks should be upheld — this is negotiable. It must be decided by experts, i.e. medical professionals, psychologists, and of course women themselves. However, a legal period of four weeks, as demanded by the AKP (Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamist Justice and Development Party), is very problematic in my view. Often the pregnancy hasn’t even been discovered in such a short period.