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24 Dec, 2023 01:20

Doctors must wise up on abortion – church leader

Metropolitan Mark believes healthcare professionals should refrain from questioning unborn babies’ “right to live”
Doctors must wise up on abortion – church leader

Russian doctors should drastically change their approach to dealing with pregnant women, Metropolitan Mark of the Ryazan Diocese has said, arguing that it is not just inappropriate, but “criminal” to ask an expectant mother whether she intends to keep the baby.

Speaking to Logos Ryazan radio on Friday, Metropolitan Mark noted that the demographic situation in Ryazan is unfavorable even compared to other Russian regions.

“The question is not only about Ryazan, the question is about the Russian population in general,” he said, adding that “it is horrifying when you hear the stories when the right to live is being questioned.” 

The Metropolitan was referring to the medical practice of asking newly pregnant women whether they intend to keep the child.

“It may be habitual for doctors, but it sounds horrifying. And what do we want after such a set of phrases that a doctor or a nurse says?” he asked the host.

“People talk about human rights. The right to education, to medical care, and so on, but here is a paradox – a person is deprived of the right to be born,” he continued. 

“It’s a life, a new life, a new person that we all need here. I think that doctors, for the honor of the uniform, need to rethink this whole situation and categorically and fundamentally change their questions, their whole vocabulary. Frankly speaking, it is a disgrace for our medicine, and seriously speaking, it is a crime.” 

For years, Russian government officials have attempted to address the country’s problems with demographics, describing the situation as “daunting.” A federal subsidy program was introduced in 2007 that allows families to receive hundreds of thousands of rubles in ‘motherhood’ payments for each child that is born.

Although the number of abortions in Russia has declined in recent years, the idea of a potential ban has become a hot topic recently, as several regions have outlawed private clinics from performing the procedure or introduced penalties for persuading women to terminate their pregnancy. However, the speaker of the upper chamber of the nation’s parliament, Valentina Matvienko, has said that Russia will not ban abortion, as this would only complicate the problem.

Russian President Vladimir Putin acknowledged last month that demographics remains an “acute problem,” declaring 2024 the ‘Year of the Family’ and suggesting that Moscow restrict the sale of pregnancy-terminating drugs.

“Large families must become the norm, a way of life for all of Russia’s peoples,” Putin said, describing the family not only as the pillar on which the state and society stand, but also “a source of morality.”

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