Russian Lower House Requires Warnings in Abortion Advertisements

By Dave Andrusko

Faced with the grim truth that nearly as many babies are aborted than born alive (if not more), the Duma, the lower house of the Russian Parliament Friday approved a law that requires that 10% of abortion ads must carry a list of possible negative consequences for women, including permanent infertility, according to Reuters.

“The bill is expected to pass the upper house [the Federation Council] and be signed into law by President Dmitry Medvedev without problem,” Reuters reported.

In April, when the bill was introduced, Anton Belyakov, the author, told journalists, “The bill also commits doctors to warn women who decided to have an abortion that it may cause infertility, death or negatively affect physical and mental health.”

Abortion statistics for Russia are notoriously suspect. According to UN statistics Russia has the highest rate of abortion in the world at 53 abortions per 1000 women between 15 and 44.

In 2007 there were 1.5 million abortions – nearly the number of children born that year– according to the lower house’s site, duma.gov.ru. Pro-lifers argue that the number could easily be twice as large.   On Friday the RIA news agency quoted parliamentarian Viktor Zvagelsky as saying “These [current abortion] ads make young girls believe they won’t have any problems interrupting a pregnancy.” He added that the law was drawn up as “the situation with abortions in Russia was depressing.”

The population in Russia continues to plummet. Between 1992 and 2008, the population decreased by more than 12 million–to around 143 million, Reuters reported.

A number of different proposals have been floated, from a one-week waiting period to parental consent to banning free abortions at government-run health clinics to requiring ultrasounds.

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