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Russian MP slams Health Ministry for proposing restrictions on acceptable reasons for abortion, labels move ‘Polish way’

Russian MP slams Health Ministry for proposing restrictions on acceptable reasons for abortion, labels move ‘Polish way’
A leading liberal-leaning MP from Russia's governing party has attacked a proposal which she says restricts women's abortion rights, and could lead to a situation where the country eventually goes down the same road as Poland.

Oksana Pushkina's wrath was targeted at the Ministry of Health, after it drew up a list, proposing reduced number of medical grounds for terminating a pregnancy after 12 weeks. The reasons include illnesses like tuberculosis, HIV, and rubella, and would remove the right to an abortion if the mother and foetus are healthy.

Pushkina has slammed the move as the “Polish way,” as the Russian proposal comes just a month after Poland's constitutional court restricted the legal termination of a pregnancy to a select few reasons.


Within the first 12 weeks, pregnancy will continue to remain legal at will of the woman.

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According to the MP, abortion shouldn't be encouraged, but it should always remain an option for a woman to choose, noting that there are often other reasons behind the decision, completely unrelated to health.

“The decision to terminate a pregnancy is not easy, and most often there are not ethical, but socio-economic reasons behind it: the inability to give the baby everything you need, to provide it with prospects in life,” she explained, on Sunday.

A hundred years ago, the USSR became Europe's first country to legalize the voluntary termination of pregnancy. Sixteen years later, in 1936, it was again made illegal, before being revoked after the end of Josef Stalin's rule, which finished in 1953.

“Talk to grandmothers and great-grandmothers who remember the post-war years when abortion was banned in the USSR,” she said. “It led to a monstrous increase in the number of backstreet abortions performed by village midwives.”

In Russia, Pushkina has gained a reputation for her progressive views, and recently made international headlines after sticking up for the country's LGBT community.

A former TV host and children's rights activist, and now a member of the governing United Russia party, she was recently recognized by the BBC in their 100 Women 2020 list, which highlighted her support for journalists who made sexual harassment claims against fellow MP Leonid Slutsky. She currently sits on the State Duma Committee for Family, Women and Children Issues, in the role of deputy chairwoman.

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