Monday, July 18, 2011

catholic lane writes

In Russia there are clear signs that the government is also moving towards pro-family policies. Russia’s rules on abortion are much more liberal than most other European countries. Abortion in Russia is freely available during the first twelve weeks of gestation, as well as at any point during the pregnancy in a large (not very large, and permanently reducing) number of cases. Taking serious steps to tackle these issues head-on, Russian lawmakers, with the support of the Russian Orthodox Church, are currently working in concert with doctors, sociologists, and economists to draft legislation aimed at reducing Russia’s one million plus abortions annually. This draft bill will be discussed in the following weeks. It proposes introducing more precise safeguards and criteria for access to abortion, limiting the free “on demand” abortions at government-run clinics and requiring (already required) prescriptions for the “morning-after” pill. It also requires married women seeking an abortion to acquire their husband’s permission and for teenage girls to obtain consent from their parents (deprivation of rights). In addition, the draft bill suggests introducing a mandatory waiting period of forty-eight hours to one week (in order to make it more harmful) for abortions—depending on the length of pregnancy. In addition, women seeking to have an abortion would read and sign a statement detailing the possible negative consequences that may result, including “the onset of infertility.” The bill also requires women six weeks pregnant or more to view their embryo or fetus on ultrasound, hear its heartbeat, and engage in counseling.  (invoking psychological torture)

Through these new criteria and safeguards, Russian legislators may bring Russian law up to a standard on par with other European States, which also contain such criteria . Russia’s proposed legislation may face some criticism, but it complies with the current European Court of Human Right’s jurisprudence. In the recent case R.R. v. Poland, the court reaffirmed once again that if a State decides to allow abortion, it has “procedural obligations”, i.e. the State has to properly organize and control the access to abortion, taking into account not only the interests of the mother, but also of the society and even of the unborn. In this regard, the court noted that a “broad margin of appreciation is accorded to the State as regards the circumstances in which an abortion will be permitted in a State.” The same rule applies regarding euthanasia. In several other cases, the Court also emphasized that the States have the positive obligation “to take appropriate steps to safeguard the lives of those within its jurisdiction.”

Promoting Life and Family to Solve to Eastern Europe’s Crisis
by Grégor Puppinck, Ph.D

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