Russia’s abortion debate highlights limit to church-state partnership

Perspectives | Russia’s abortion debate highlights limit to church-state partnership
The church has been pushing for a ban on abortion. The Kremlin isn’t interested.

Diana Dukhanova
Nov 5, 2018

Russia is an acknowledged leader of the global movement to assert "traditional" values. Yet when it comes to abortion – a bedrock issue for most traditionalists – the Kremlin is sticking to a largely pro-choice stance that puts it at odds with the Russian Orthodox Church.

Tension over abortion has been simmering for years between the church (ROC) and government. In September 2016, Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill signed a petition to the federal government to ban abortion, calling for fetuses to receive the same legal protections as living persons. The petition's sponsor, leading Russian anti-abortion group For Life!, reached its goal of collecting 1 million signatures in August 2017, and late last year submitted the petition to President Vladimir Putin.


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Russia – Officials Impose Short-Term Abortion Ban During Pro-Life Campaign

Officials Impose Short-Term Abortion Ban During Pro-Life Campaign

Aug. 06 2018

Hospitals in several Russian regions had imposed a de facto moratorium on abortions during an annual pro-life campaign run by the prime minister’s wife this summer.

Faced with the lowest birth rate in a decade, the Russian government seeks to reverse the demographic crisis with a $8.6 billion plan to encourage Russians to have more babies by offering mortgage subsidies and other social programs.


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Guess What? Vladimir Putin Is a Pro-Choice Champion

Guess What? Vladimir Putin Is a Pro-Choice Champion

By Geoffrey Smith
December 14, 2017

Maybe it’s the old Communist in him, maybe he’s always been a closet feminist, or maybe it’s because he just doesn’t want to annoy half of the country’s voters four months before he runs for re-election. Whatever the reason, Russian President Vladimir Putin finally came out as pro-choice on Thursday.

“In the modern world, the decision is up to the woman herself,” Russia’s president said in his annual marathon press conference on Wednesday, which ran to just shy of four hours. Any attempt to suppress it, he added, would only push the practice underground, causing immense damage to women’s health.

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Russia: Putin’s Next Target Is Russia’s Abortion Culture

Putin’s Next Target Is Russia’s Abortion Culture

The Russian president is worried about his country’s shrinking population. His social-conservative allies say they have the solution.

By Amie Ferris-Rotman
October 3, 2017

MOSCOW — On a recent windy afternoon, members of a prominent Russian religious group were busy laying out 2,000 pairs of children’s shoes in the corner of a park — each representing an abortion performed on an average day in Russia.

Fighting the elements to keep the tiny slippers and rubber boots in place, the organizers from “For Life” took to loudspeakers to reel off the reasons why Russia should make abortion illegal. Simultaneously, two men unfurled a long red-and-white banner with a quote by President Vladimir Putin, reading: “Demography is a vital issue… Either we’ll continue to exist, or we won’t.”

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Anti-Abortion Ideology is On the Rise in Europe

January 2, 2017 by Daria Sukharchuk, Ms. Magazine

As the right-wing parties are on the rise in Europe, one can see a certain turn towards more conservative politics in all spheres of life—including reproductive rights.

To date, Europe has put forth some of the most pro-choice legislation in the world. In most European countries—with the exclusion on Poland, Malta, Northern Ireland and the Vatican—abortion is allowed, without restriction, for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, and in some countries even longer than that. The procedure is usually carried out in a normal hospital—not a dedicated abortion clinic—and the shouting crowds with harrowing pictures are not as common a sight as they are in the United States.

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Source: Ms. Magazine

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How to make abortion rarer

How to make abortion rarer
Bans and restrictions do not work. Superior birth control does
Dec 3rd 2016 | ATHENS AND SEOUL

ABORTION, says Theodora, a Greek civil servant, was “an absolute necessity” when she became pregnant last year. Her husband had lost his job and money was too tight for a third child. The procedure, at a private clinic, was “efficient”; she was in and out in three hours. Hers was a typical experience for a middle-class Athenian woman. It is not uncommon for one to have four or five abortions, says a gynaecologist in Athens. In Greece abortion is seen as an ordinary form of birth control.

Most modern contraceptives, however, are not viewed that way. More than half of married Greek women use none at all. Withdrawal and condoms are the methods of choice for most couples who are trying not to have a baby—even medical students, who should know that these fail about a fifth of couples who rely on them for a year. Greeks commonly believe that the pill and other hormonal contraceptives cause infertility and cancer. They also distrust intrauterine devices (IUDs), possibly because they have been taught that tampons are unhealthy.

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Source: The Economist

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How should we talk about abortion in Russia?

How should we talk about abortion in Russia?
Abortion is no longer such a lightweight issue as it used to be in Russia. But moves towards banning reflect ultra-conservatives' desire for a witch-hunt, not changing public attitudes.

by Anastasiya Ovsyannikova
31 October 2016
Open Democracy

Abortion is back on the agenda in Russia. The recent appointment of Anna Kuznetsova, who is closely connected with a radical Orthodox anti-abortion movement (and who has sponsors in the Kremlin), as Russia’s new Children’s Ombudsman seems to have given a green light for another push against abortion. Patriarch Kirill recently signed a public petition calling for a ban on abortion. At the same time, Elena Mizulina, a prominent anti-abortion politician, has recently proposed excluding abortion from state healthcare. These latest developments, coinciding with mass protests in Poland against restrictions on abortion, have once again brought public attention to the issue.

It’s a paradox: the readiness with which the Russian public responds to anti-abortion rhetoric is not only a symptom of the emergent de-civilising atmosphere of the past few years, it’s also the flip side of the recent softening and “humanising” of attitudes in everyday life, which, despite everything, has been going on over several decades.

Continued: Open Democracy

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72% of Russians Against Abortion Ban – Poll

Oct. 25 2016 — 15:32
Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

Seventy-two percent of Russians are against a total ban on abortion, which is three percent more than last year, a poll published by the state-run pollster VTsIOM revealed on Tuesday. Only eighteen percent of respondents – same amount as in 2015 – believe such a ban should be instituted, the study showed.

The number of Russians that are against excluding abortion from the state-funded health insurance, has also grown from 59 percent in 2015 to 70 percent in 2016. At the same time, the number of people who think that abortion should not be a state-funded procedure, lowered from 25 percent in 2015 to 21 percent in 2016.

Nine percent of female respondents said they had an abortion. More than half of the respondents – 51 percent – believe that poor financial conditions are the main reason why women resort to abortion.

The poll was conducted between Oct. 15 and 16 in 46 Russian regions among 1,600 respondents. The margin of error does not exceed 3.5 percent.

Source: Moscow Times

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Recap of the 33rd Session of the UN Human Rights Council (Sep 12-30, 2016)

Oct 5, 2016, Sexual Rights Initiative

The 33rd session of the UN Human Rights Council took place from the 12th to the 30th of September 2016.

The HRC33 Recap provides information on some of the key sexual rights related:

Panels and Discussions
Oral Statements
Side Events

all of which the Sexual Rights Initiative (SRI) was engaged with during the session.

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Source: Sexual Rights Initiative

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Russia’s Abortion Debate Is Back

Sep. 29 2016 — 21:44
By Ola Cichowlas

Abortion rights are on the minds of citizens and officials across Europe this week.

In Ireland, protesters marched through the streets of Dublin in the thousands demanding their government hold a referendum to repeal restrictive abortion laws. The same week, the Polish parliament shocked Europe by voting through a draft law on a total abortion ban in its first reading, spurring protests across the country and even a scheduled national women’s strike next week. On Tuesday, Russia also reopened its own abortion debate.

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, endorsed an anti-abortion petition earlier this week. The document, drafted by the religious groups “For Life” and “Orthodox Volunteers,” had been approved by a patriarchal commission on family, motherhood, and children, the church said in a statement.

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Source: Moscow Times

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