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7 Nov, 2023 19:05

Pay women to reject abortions – MP

Unwanted children should be raised by the state instead, a Russian lawmaker has proposed
Pay women to reject abortions – MP

Russia should offer money to women thinking about aborting their babies, so that the government can raise them instead, State Duma Deputy Sultan Khamzaev proposed on Tuesday.

“I believe that preserving the life of a child is the most important thing in the strategy to reduce the number of abortions in Russia,” Khamzaev said in a proposal sent to Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova and seen by the media.

His idea is for the government to offer “financial incentives” to women who have decided to have an abortion to deliver the baby instead, whereupon it would become a ward of the state.

“There are many different speculative opinions around the topic of abortion. My position has long been that the state should have a maternal protective function, and if a woman has already decided to have an abortion, then the most effective way to save the child is to take it into the care of the state,” Khamzaev added.

The State Duma is currently debating several proposed amendments to Article 56 of the Healthcare Act, dealing with the “artificial termination of pregnancy.”

Last month, a package of amendments – including some proposed by the Russian Orthodox Church – made their way to a parliamentary committee. According to media reports, some of the proposals include requiring the consent of the husband or family members before an abortion, restricting it to the first 8-12 weeks of pregnancy, banning private clinics from performing abortions, and penalizing “encouragement” or “propaganda” to get the procedure.

The number of abortions in Russia has decreased from 2.13 million in 2000 to 506,000 in 2022, the last year for which statistics are available.

In a speech last week, President Vladimir Putin called abortion an “acute” problem in Russia. Banning or restricting some aspects of the procedure was among the possible solutions he listed, as were increasing government assistance to families in order to better support parenthood.

Khamzaev hails from the Republic of Dagestan in the Caucasus and is a member of the ruling United Russia party. Best known as a crusader against alcohol abuse, he has also advocated downgrading the status of English in Russian education, banning vapes and e-cigarettes, and penalizing footballers for poor performance.

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