Until 1983, abortion was permitted only to save the life or preserve the health of the woman, and in cases of foetal impairment.

The Population Planning Law of November 1983 permitted abortion on request within ten weeks. Later abortions are permitted to save or preserve the health of the woman and for foetal impairment. The indications must be confirmed by a specialist in obstetrics and gynaecology and by a specialist in another field.

Despite the liberal abortion laws in Turkey, the number of legal abortions has been sharply restricted by the requirement that the procedure be carried out under the supervision of a gynaecologist.

However the scarcity of trained specialists required by the law, limits access to services in rural Turkey.

Although abortion has been legal in Turkey only since 1983, several studies indicate that abortion has been widely practiced for a considerable period. The Turkish Fertility Survey conducted in 1978 before abortion became widely available, found that 34% of Turkish women had had at least one abortion by the time of the survey.