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2 Sep, 2013 10:01

Russia’s anti-gay crusader seeks tougher punishment for illegal abortions - report

Russia’s anti-gay crusader seeks tougher punishment for illegal abortions - report

After stirring Russian society with the controversial act banning non-traditional sex propaganda, the head of State Duma’s committee for the family wants to introduce fines for illegal abortions and prescription for morning-after pills.

MP Yelena Mizulina of the Fair Russia parliamentary caucus said in an interview with the Izvestia daily that she considered bringing order to Russian law on abortions her primary task in the coming Lower House session.

The MP explained that although Russia has certain regulations on the termination of pregnancies, they do not contain any responsibility for violation. The only exception is performing abortions without medical training which is considered a criminal offence.

The rules concerning abortions are covered by the Law on Basics of Healthcare and they are fairly extensive. The act requires informed consent from the patient, there is a 12-week limit on pregnancy term (prolonged to 22 weeks for cases of rape and cancelled completely if an abortion is necessary for medical reasons) and there is an obligatory “silence period” during which patients must think about the decision without external pressure. 

However, the law provides for no sanctions for violators and according to MP Mizulina abuse is rife. Parliamentarians suggest introducing fines for medical personnel who break the law. Mizulina also emphasized in the interview that no one would punish the women who have to go through abortions, and any contrary statements in the mass media were lies. 

Mizulina also reported that the State Duma wanted to make emergency contraception pills prescription drugs. The MP said it was extremely important that the women who purchased and used morning-after pills were fully informed of all the consequences and contra-indications. She added that the problem was very acute as statistics showed a 20 percent annual growth in sales of these drugs. 

In addition, the parliamentarian noted that when the United States introduced laws that regulated the sale of morning-after pills, the birth rate in this country grew by 20 percent , which was doubtlessly an achievement.

Mizulina also told the newspaper that her counter-abortion campaign has already become a target of certain mass-media that used distortion and direct lies to ensure its failure. She explained that this was caused by the journalists’ ignorance and unwillingness to study the problems they were writing on, but sometimes personal grudges could be behind scandals.

The MP mentioned the recently started criminal case against the yet unidentified people who slandered her on the Internet and said that she had received no apologies from LGBT activist Nikolai Alekseyev or former state official Alfred Kokh (both have been questioned as witnesses as they reportedly distributed slanderous materials via social networks).

Moreover, Mizulina reminded the reporters that in 1995, when Alfred Kokh was chairing the Russian State Property Committee, she prevented the privatization of the major defense industry enterprise Rybinsk Motors, suggesting that the current interest to her activities could be caused by these old offences.

Mizulina refused to talk more about the slander case quoting the secret investigation.