PROVOCATIVE. POWERFUL. INSPIRING. Just some of the many words that sum up “My Body, My Decision”, an online protest against the upcoming abortion bill, due to be presented to the Turkish parliament this month. With a comfortable majority in the house, the ruling Justice & Development Party — better known by its Turkish acronym, AKP — look set to pass their drastic cut on the time limit, in place since 1983, in which a woman can legally abort the foetus, from 10 weeks down to four.
Alongside the AKP’s rising no-holds barred approach to molding the nation — riding on the crest of their unprecedented 3rd term of office & much-touted “model democracy” for the Middle East — their latest crack at pleasing their core voter base (conservative / religious / Islamic / Islamist — take your pick) has brought a storm of idignation onto the streets, as well as online.
Entering the fray from the outset, one of the few independent news sources in Turkey, Bianet.org (who also report in English), kickstarted their own campaign of outrage with staff members scrawling their message to the AKP goverment across their own bodies & posting the rather creative results on their website. Sensing the mood, Bianet then opened their platform to the public:
A new anti-abortion law will be debated in the parliament in June 2012. Looking back and reflecting on the past week, we can easily foresee that abortion will virtually be banned.
bianet’s men and women are now starting off a campaign in order to open a space for everyone to react easily and openly. Anyone who says “This Is My Decision” can join by writing whichever sentence they wish to write, in whichever language they prefer, on either a piece of paper or your belly and taking a photo.
To join you can choose one of the sentences below or come up with your own slogan that illustrates your reaction. Feel free to use any language you want.
For women: “My Body, My Decision”, “This Is My Issue”
For men: “Woman’s Body, Woman’s Decision”, “My Wife’s Body, My Wife’s Decision”, “My Daughter’s Body, My Daughter’s Decision”, “My Girlfriend’s Body, My Girlfriend’s Decision”, “This is Women’s Issue”, “My Sister’s Decision”, “My Mother’s Decision”
We hope that you will support this campaign and join us in order to prevent women from being deprived of the right to make decisions about their body and life.
With the overwhelming response, from both Turkey & abroad, causing the Bianet site to crash, the logical next step was to launch a dedicated portal, & so benimkararim.org (“mydecision.org”) was born.
At the time of writing, the flood of creative input from within the nation’s borders & without stands at over 700, from women and men of all ages. In Turkish, English, German, French, & Armenian, the message is clear: Women are the custodians of the vagina, not the AKP.