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3 Aug, 2023 14:16

‘Abortion propaganda’ banned in Russian region

Mordovia has become the first republic to introduce such a ban at the legislative level
‘Abortion propaganda’ banned in Russian region

The Republic of Mordovia has become the first region in Russia to officially ban the promotion of abortion after lawmakers passed a law on Thursday introducing administrative fines for encouraging the artificial termination of a pregnancy.

The authors of the legislation argued that abortions negatively affected a woman’s health and noted that a large amount of pregnancy terminations was one of the leading causes of low birth rates.

The law defines inducing an abortion as forcing a pregnant woman to carry out this act through persuasion, offers, bribery, deceit, making demands or imposing or providing the woman with information classified as ‘abortion propaganda’. Trying to make a woman’s relatives encourage her to terminate a pregnancy is also outlawed.

Russian citizens in Mordovia found to have violated this law, which will come into effect ten days after it is published, will face administrative fines ranging from 5,000 to 10,000 rubles ($53-$106). Foreign citizens would have to pay between 10,000 and 20,000 rubles ($106-$210) and legal entities would be charged up to 200,000 rubles ($2,120).

It’s noted in the document that the administrative violation will be considered to have been committed even if the woman in question did not end up terminating the pregnancy.

A footnote to the legislation points out, however, that a doctor informing a woman about medical indications for an artificial termination of pregnancy does not fall under ‘coercion for an abortion’.

The head of Mordovia, Artem Zdunov, stated earlier this week that the region was in the “red zone” in terms of birth rates and blamed the situation on the large number of residents who had left the republic in recent years, as well as the “demographic holes” left behind by WWII and the 1990s.

The republic, which is located some 500km (310 miles) east of Moscow, currently has a population of just over 771,000 people, according to a 2023 survey. Only five years ago, there were officially over 805,000 people living in the region.

Announcing the new legislation on his official Telegram channel, Zdunov noted that the initiative had been welcomed by both religious and public organizations in Mordovia.

“The number of abortions in the republic is decreasing. Five private clinics have already voluntarily refused services for an artificial termination of pregnancy,” the head of the republic added.