Tuesday, September 20, 2011

New Russian Theocracy

On September 19 the chairman of the Duma Committee on Health Olga Borzova had a meeting with the working group to discuss proposed amendments to the article "Pregnancy termination" of a draft federal law "On the basis of health protection in Russia". The amendments had been submitted by representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) to prevention abortion.

Opening the meeting, Olga Borzov recalled that the coordination of positions with the ROC on the article "Induced abortion" is conducted in a constructive manner and has already reached many agreements, "July 8 between the Russiab Health Ministry (MoH) and the Russian Orthodox Church signed an agreement on cooperation, one of the directions of which is opposition to abortion. At the meeting on August 2 in the framework of this cooperation the parties agreed on the issue of "period of silence." For pregnancy up to 11 weeks this period was extended from 48 hours to 7 days, and they agree to apply it not only to primiparous, but to all women. We strive for consensus on many other clauses of this article, because we share a common objective: reducing the number of abortions. "

Head of the Committee noted that much of what the church offers, is already reflected in the law: "For example, the law is registered a ban on abortion on the same day a woman attended a clinic for this purpose. The written informed voluntary consent of a women to abortion does not need fixing since the more general rule covers this subject. The draft law now includes the possibility for a doctor to refuse of carrying out abortions, except when there are medical indications or when continuation of the pregnancy is life threatening, and the substituting doctor is not available.

However, please note that "On the basis of health protection in Russia" - a framework law, it is impossible to prescribe all the details. Therefore accompanying federal laws (currently there are 44 of them) will follow. This will include only the basic, fundamental points, and details will be specified in the coming federal laws or in legal documents of the Government. "

Director of the Department of medical care for children and maternity services of the MoH Valentina Shirokova expressed the MoH position on many initiatives of the Church and assured the audience that all reasonable proposals that are not included in the basic law, will be covered in the relevant legal documents. Thus MoH will ban any physician initiative to abortion in its procedures for rendering obstetrical and gynecological care. MoH order will introduce an obligatory preliminary ultrasound visualization of fetal heart beat for a woman performing an abortion. This order will require mandatory interviews of a woman with a psychologist and a social worker during the "period of silence." In addition, the Government plan to reduce the list of social indications for abortion.

Employee of the Synodal Department for Youth Affairs Fr Dmitry Pershin, authorized at the meeting to voice the position of the ROC, insisted on deleting abortion from the mandatory health insurance: if the taxpayer is a staunch opponent of abortion, it is impossible to collect money from him and then apply for funding of this procedure . But, as noted in the discussion, such a rule would lead to an increase in private services and to abuse.

A number of initiatives has been fully supported by the meeting participants: limiting advertising of abortion, antichoice media campaign, creation a network of shelters for single mothers. However, these issues are not subject to the bill.

When the discussion touched the article, "Assisted reproductive technology", the chairman of the Duma Committee on Health, Olga Borzov stressed that the rule of surrogacy is not a novel of the bill: "The current law surrogacy enshrined in Articles 51 and 52 of the Family Code. And in the law "On the basis of health protection in the Russian Federation" surrogacy is included as a high technology. "

At the end of the meeting Olga Borzov thanked participants for their activity and commitment to dialogue and expressed confidence that the positions on many issues continue to converge and the working group will continue its work.

September 20, 2011 Duma Administration of Public Media Relations

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