Monday, September 26, 2011
Ny lag forsvarar aborter i Ryssland
This is the translated from Russian by the author (Per Leander) article in Swedish Fria Tidningen. There are two translations, Englisg in the bottom
Russia is preparing a new law, which if adopted next year, will mean major restrictions on women's right to abortion.
- It is a violation of women's human rights and legislative change is also contrary to the Constitution, says Nataliya Bitten, feminist bloggers and active in the Russian women's rights organization Za Feminism.
- We believe that restrictions on the ability to safe medical abortion will lead to increased illegal abortions with greater risk to women's lives and health. And in addition lead to more corruption, she said.
The new bill would mean that doctors can deny women abortions unless they are deemed medically necessary. The new law would also meen that married women need permission from their husbands if they want to have an abortion. In addition, the waiting time to get an abortion will be extended with a so-called "think trhough your decision" period.
- It is an example of how society devalues women and portrays us as impulsive, unable to make independent decisions, says Nataliya Bitten.
Russia has 142 million inhabitants, but there is a decreasing population in the world's largest country, as mortality is higher than the birth rate. It is with reference to the low birth rate that the authorities have taken up the proposal on changes to abortion law. Russia also has the highest number of abortions each year with over one million procedures.
- But international experience shows that the prohibition of abortion does not lead to increased birth rate. One example is Poland, where the number of births in 1989 was comparable to the Soviet Union. But now after Poland imposed abortion ban in 1993, the birth rate became lower than in Russia, says Nataliya Bitten.
Meanwhile, the Orthodox Church, which is opposed to abortion for religious reasons, have long lobbied for anti abotion laws. The committee appointed by the Ministry of Health and Social Development to investigate the new bill also included seven religious adviser in the form of a group of Orthodox priests and a couple of mullahs.
- How can a secular state allow Orthodox priests to suggest the laws? exclaims Nataliya Bitten.
Her organization Za Feminism is fighting in collaboration with several women's rights organizations in Moscow and St. Petersburg to bring people's attention on the new bill, including through demonstrations and leafleting.
Russia has historically been very liberal towards abortions. Soviet Russia was in 1920 the first country in the world to introduce legal abortion. A women's right which has remained in force until today, with the exception of a ban on abortion that existed during the Stalinist period from 1936 to 1954. Under current Russian law, abortion is legal up to twelve week, and has to be performed for free by doctors without question.
- We are convinced that the best way to reduce abortions is with cheaper contraception and sex education in schools, says Nataliya Bitten.