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4 Dec, 2023 14:21

Russia won’t ban abortions – top senator

Such a move would only lead to the emergence of an illegal market and spike in female mortality, Valentina Matvienko says
Russia won’t ban abortions – top senator

Russia is not going to ban abortions as such restrictions would only complicate the problem, the speaker of the upper chamber of the national parliament, Valentina Matvienko, has said.

A possible abortion ban became a hot topic in the country recently as several Russian regions forbade private clinics from performing the procedure or introduced penalties for persuading women to terminate their pregnancy.

In late November, the vice speaker of the lower house, the State Duma, Anna Kuznetsova suggested that regional initiatives aimed at protecting family and children “should become subject to federal decisions.”  Lawmakers in Moscow have already started working on legislation that will bar private clinics across Russia from offering termination of pregnancy to their clients.

Matvienko assured the public on Monday that there were no plans to introduce a blanket ban on abortions in the country. “I’m absolutely sure that no restrictions … no criminalization in this area will be able to solve this problem,” she told the journalists.

“We already had such experience, which led to sad consequences,” the speaker reminded everyone, apparently referring to a ban on abortions that had been in place in the Soviet Union between 1936 and 1955. It resulted in the emergence of an “illegal market, rise of female mortality and so on,” she said. The Russian state “will certainly not take this path,” Matvienko insisted.

As for the debate on the issue, the speaker suggested that “it’s now necessary to reduce the intensity of rhetoric, move the discussion to the plain of common sense and continue thorough professional work that would exclude mistakes and ill-considered proposals that cause public anxiety.”

The number of abortions in Russia decreased by 25% over the past five years, but the “figures still remain alarming,” Matvienko stressed. The Russian Health Ministry’s chief consultant on reproductive health, Oleg Apolikhin, told Tass last year that around 400,000 abortions are performed in the country annually.

According to the speaker, one of the ways to deal with the problem is “explaining to every woman that her child will be supported by the state” and informing her about the physical harm done by terminating a pregnancy.

Matvienko expressed hope that in the future Russian society would come to a better understanding of the issue, in which abortions will be performed only on medical grounds or if the pregnancy is the result of sexual violence.

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