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Turkish Abortion Debate Renewed After Nevin Yildirim Beheads Alleged Rapist

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Nevin Yildirim is accused of murder in the death of the man she claims raped and impregnated her.
Nevin Yildirim is accused of murder in the death of the man she claims raped and impregnated her.

A 26-year-old Turkish woman, who was impregnated by her rapist, reportedly shot and beheaded her alleged attacker to protect her honor. The case has forced the country into a new round in the intensifying debate over abortion.

Nevin Yildirim, a mother of two from Turkey's Yalvac district, faces charges of murder for the August killing of 35-year-old Nurettin Gider. Yildirim, according to CNN, is at least five months pregnant and claims she was rape-impregnated by Gider.

Yildirim told police that Gider, a father of two who was married to her husband's aunt, first raped her in January, when her husband left town to work a seasonal job.

Yildirim said Gider threatened to kill her children if she alerted anyone to the crime. The rapes allegedly continued over the course of the next several months and Gider reportedly threatened to publish photos he took of Yildirim's pregnant body if she did not do as he said, Turkish broadcaster DHA reported.

On Aug. 28, Yildirim claims spotted Gider climbing up a wall behind her house and grabbed a rifle that was hanging on the wall.

"I knew he was going to rape me again," Yildirim said at an Aug. 30 preliminary hearing.

Yildirim allegedly shot Gider twice and chased him from her property. She claimed in court he was armed at the time.

"He fell on the ground. He started cussing," she said. "I shot his sexual organ this time. He became quiet. I knew he was dead. I then cut his head off."

Witnesses told police they saw Yildirim walk into the village square, carrying Gider's bloody head by his hair.

"Don't talk behind my back, don't play with my honor," Yildirim allegedly told witnesses in the square as she threw Gider's head to the ground. "Here is the head of the man who played with my honor."

Authorities arrived on the scene shortly thereafter and Yildirim was taken into custody without incident.

"He kept saying that he would tell everyone [about the rape]," Yildirim told authorities, according to Doğan News Agency. "My daughter will start school this year. Everyone would have insulted my children. Now no one can."

"I saved my honor," she added. "They will now call [her children] 'the kids of the women who saved her honor.'"

According to CNN, Yildirim went to a health clinic for an abortion prior to the murder but was turned away because she was 14 weeks pregnant at the time. In Turkey, abortion is only permitted during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. Anything beyond that requires a special circumstance.

Turkey's abortion debate has now been re-kindled as the public prosecutor's office considers Yildirim's request. Authorities are waiting for experts to weigh in on her mental stability.

"The extremity of Nevin's actions show the extent of the trauma the rape has caused," Dr. Gürsel Öztunalı Kayır, Foundation for Women's Solidarity, told International Business Times. "We shouldn't be distracted by the murder; if she wants to have an abortion following months of abuse, she should have the right."

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, however, considers abortion "murder" and wants the practice outlawed. Melih Gökçek, mayor of the capital, Ankara, supports the proposed ban, saying a mother who considers abortion should "kill herself instead and not let the child bear the brunt of her mistake," IBT reported.

Women's groups in Turkey consider Yildirim a heroine. The case also resonates in the United States, where abortion remains a topic of heated debate.

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