Russian Health Ministry Plans to Set up Pregnancy Centers to Lower Abortion Rate

Thaddeus Baklinski, Life Site News, January 29, 2014

In its continuing effort to boost its birth rate, the Russian government is looking at setting up crisis pregnancy centers to help dissuade women from abortion.

“The Health Ministry supports the creation of crisis centers for pregnant women, where they can get professional counseling from social workers. We think that this is the most promising and humane way of reducing the number of abortions,” said Elena Baibarina, the head of the Health Ministry’s Department for Health Care for Children and Obstetric Aid, according to a RIA Novosti report.

“The number of abortions in Russia is going down. The 2008 figure was 1.2 million, while in 2012 it dropped down to 935,000. But it is still too high, which also contributes to infertility issues,” Baibarina said.

Prominent Russian demographer Veniamin Bashlachev told Rossiyskaya Gazeta that Russia’s population loss through abortion in the decades leading up to the fall of communism was two and a half times the number of lives Russia lost in the First World War, the Russian Revolution and the Second World War combined. Abortions in the 1960s to the end of the 1980s averaged more than 4.5 million a year.

By 2011 the Russian population stood at 143 million people, down by 5.7 million since the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991.

To combat the abortion epidemic, the Russian government has proposed legislation that would ban free abortions at government-run health clinics, require prescriptions for the ‘morning-after’ pill, require parental consent for teenagers and a husband’s consent for married women, and mandate a one-week waiting period before an abortion is performed.

Other proposals have included increasing the 2,000 ruble ($70) monthly government subsidy offered to pregnant women.

Late last year Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law banning abortion advertising.

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