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Will abortion ban improve Russia's demography?

02.11.2005
 

Fifty years ago, November 1, 1955 the Soviet Union once again legalized abortions prohibited in 1936

In Russia, abortions were prohibited during Stalin's ruling, and many women had to undergo illegal abortion operations which usually were incredibly barbaric and might even be lethal. When abortions were legalized once again in 1995, it became clear that generally the number of abortions was twice as bigger than the number of newborn babies. 

Every year the number of women deciding to have an abortion is decreasing in Russia, but this country is still the leader as concerning the abortion rate (13 abortions per 10 childbirths). Even though the abortion rate has decreased almost twice over the past 23 years, the country still experienced a serious demography crisis in the early 1990s. According to approximate estimates, the Russian population is speedily decreasing every day; at that alcoholism and traffic accidents are generally believed to be the reasons of such high death rate in the country.

As for improving the demographic situation, one has to pin great hopes on the young generation that grew up in the free sex epoch. Indeed, the number of pregnancies is increasing among teenagers, but the number of abortions in the same age category is increasing at the same time (11 percent of all abortions are performed on girls under 15). This operation performed in early age usually results in sterility in mature age. So, the birth rate in Russia may drop even more; forecasts saying that Russia's population may decrease to 100 million people are quite feasible against this background.

Chief Medical Physician at the Republican Reproduction Center, Mikhail Koryakin, believes that it is only a woman who can decide if she delivers a baby or has an abortion. “The government has no right to prohibit abortions. This is not an effective measure to put an end to abortions; this on the contrary will even increase the number of illegal abortions and result in higher death-rate. The role of the government must be not prohibiting but rather educative. The society must know about the great variety of contraception methods. Today, women decide to have an abortion because of economic reasons when they fear they will not have enough finance to give a normal life to babies. The government must first of all guarantee stable social environment to encourage women have more babies.”

Deputy of the Russian parliament Alexander Chuyev, the initiator of the law on reduction of social factors allowing to have an abortion, sticks to a different point of view. “An abortion is a killing of a living human being. If a baby was conceived nobody has the right to kill him. Abortions are a serious problem for Russia; we lose over 1 million people every year, including those killed by abortions. Prohibition of abortions may be ineffective, but it is also important today to focus on family planning and teach the youth be more family-minded to solve the problem.” 

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