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22 Jan, 2019 16:28

Internet split as governor orders municipal heads to talk women out of abortion

Internet split as governor orders municipal heads to talk women out of abortion

While anti-abortion activists push for a full ban and threaten women with hell, a Russian governor has came up with a controversial solution to the issue, ordering municipal heads to personally talk women out of ending pregnancy.

The Penza Region’s population of just under 1.4 million is too small and that’s why officials “must fight for every child,” Governor Ivan Belozertsev said as he expanded on his rather original plan to tackle abortions.

Each woman planning the procedure will, from now on, be supervised by the hospital’s chief doctor, the psychologist, social services, female NGOs and – if that wasn’t enough – the local municipality head as well, the governor announced.

High-ranking officials will meet with the woman and question her about the reasons for wanting an abortion. If it’s about a lack of money or poor housing conditions then the administration would have to help her solve these problems in the hope of changing her mind.

If the woman doesn’t give up on her abortion plans after that it “would mean that the authorities just didn’t do their job well,” Belozertsev proclaimed.

“If I find out that such work is not being done, the responsible persons will be relieved of their positions,” the governor warned his stunned subordinates.

Also on rt.com Russian regions start undeclared moratorium on abortions – report

Belozertsev’s ideas sparked a heated debate online, which became a perfect illustration of the split in Russian society over the controversial issue of abortion.

“Maybe we should also discuss conception with our municipal heads?”one female commentator said.

Others argued that the governor’s order was simply illegal. “What about medical confidentiality? Who’s going to be the one telling the bureaucrat about the woman, who decided to have an abortion,” one of the comments read.

Some suggested that the local authorities should increase benefits to help eradicate the problems which pregnant women can face, instead of invading their privacy.

But there were also many, who fully backed Belozertsev’s plan. “You just shouldn’t go to bed with anyone, who looks at you. Get married and the state won’t have to peek into your bedrooms,” one of the users wrote, reminding “those who want to fornicate without repercussions” that contraception is available.

“The governor is right. Abortion is a sin. If there were no abortions there would’ve been no poverty. Only fools don’t understand that,” another comment read.

In recent years, the Russian Orthodox Church has been pushing for free abortions to be banned, arguing that the state funds shouldn’t be used to “kill life.” The initiative gained some public support and was backed by several MPs, but never became a law.

Russian doctors are, however, legally allowed to refuse an abortion, since 2012, if it violates their religious beliefs.

This left Russian regions looking for creative ways to persuade women from ending their pregnancy.

Last June, local authorities in the Primorsky and Ryazan Regions, as well as in the Republic of Yakutia, introduced a four-day moratorium on the procedure as part of the “Grant me life!” action.

The story about an abortion-seeking woman from the Belgorod Region, whom the medics sent to get an approval from a local priest, made headlines in April.

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