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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Policy Trends in the States, 2017

Policy Trends in the States, 2017

Elizabeth Nash, Guttmacher Institute
Rachel Benson Gold, Guttmacher Institute
Lizamarie Mohammed, Guttmacher Institute
Zohra Ansari-Thomas, Guttmacher Institute
Olivia Cappello, Guttmacher Institute

First published online: January 2, 2018

States continued their assault on abortion in 2017, with 19 states adopting 63 new restrictions on abortion rights and access. That total is the largest number of abortion restrictions enacted in a year since 2013. In addition, Iowa, Kentucky and South Carolina all moved to restrict public funding for family planning programs and providers in 2017, bringing to 15 the number of states that have taken aim at the family planning safety net since the 2015 release of a series of deceptively edited videos seeking to discredit Planned Parenthood.

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