Saturday, July 16, 2011

Russia: Anti-Abortion Legislation and Campaign

The anti-choice campaign started by the Russian Orthodox Church after the State Duma introduced amendments to a draft law that would place some restrictions on abortion. The amendments would institute a mandatory waiting period for abortions of 48 hours to one week, depending on how long the woman had been pregnant. They would also require women to sign a statement that they agreed to abortion after reading of possible negative consequences, including “the onset of infertility.” Women over six weeks pregnant would be required to see their embryo or fetus on ultrasound, hear its heartbeat and have counseling. Another amendment would restrict sale of the morning-after pill. It is proposed that abortions after the twelfth week of pregnancy are excluded from the list of mandatory medical services, except in the case of medical necessity or when the pregnancy occurred as a result of rape. The proposed law prohibits the sale of abortion-inducing drugs over the counter without a prescription from a physician [it is likely the most stupid item of antichoice innovations, revealing lack of knowledge about the topic]. Also, it is proposed that the European practice of giving up new-born babies for adoption anonymously is introduced. Rallied by dioceses across Russia, campaigners marked International Children’s Day by distributing leaflets on dangers of abortion and releasing hundreds of balloons over Ulyanovsk, Lenin’s birthplace [abortion was a must there in 1870], to support “Russia without abortions.” Official statistics say 1.3 million abortions were performed in 2009 in Russia, in a population of just under 143 million and falling. Opponents of abortion and the morning-after pill, which they lump together [not only morning after, but all other methods as well, except for natural], say the real number is much higher. Abortion was common and readily available in the Soviet era, championed by early 20th-century Communists in the name of women's liberation. After the Soviet Union became the first country to legalize abortion [actually RSFSR in 1920, the USSR started in 1922], it was [very severely] restricted by Stalin in his drive to increase the population. In the post-Stalin era, however, Soviet women sometimes [very often] had multiple abortions, either because they had little access to contraception or feared it [a result of state medicine intimidation].

arrived with ASTRA subscription as CEE Bulletin on Sexual and Reproductive Rights No 07 (98) 2011

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