Russian Association for Population & Development (RAPD)

Российской Ассоциации “Народонаселение и Развитие” (РАНиР)

 

Planned activities for September 28 and national news

RAPD, together with its Pro-choice Coalition, are planning a chain of activities devoted to the ongoing International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion worldwide (over almost a month around the date). For the Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion on September, 28, we plan the following activities:

  • To conduct a workshop on the right to safe and legal abortion with the former, long-standing and new members and supporters of the “Rowan Bunch” Reproductive Choice Coalition;
  • To write a news report on the Global Day of Action to be published on our websites, the Coalition social media pages and sent to the RAPD regional branches and the 1,500 members of a service providers’ listserve maintained by one of our partner organizations.
  • In terms of visual media, we keep publicizing on our social media pages videos of a bilingual English/Russian seminar we organized in the summer on the topic of access to abortion as a human right in Central and Eastern Europe, trying to maintain interest and increase knowledge of different aspects and related problems among our audience.
  • Several videos are going to be published on our Facebook page around September 28.

And on another note, the national news on abortion in Russia

On July 12, Elena Mizulina, the MP who has introduced most anti-abortion amendments in the Russian Parliament (Duma) last year, has now introduced a new proposal that aims at punishing/criminalizing providers of illegal abortions (proposing administrative punishment when, for example, the obligatory waiting period is not respected or when abortion is performed after the 12 weak cut-off). Committing the “offence” twice or more during one year could lead to big fines or up to 3 years in jail. The proposal has been introduced into the State Duma Committee on Constitutional Law and State-Building, and the Committee has not yet taken any further steps with regard to it.

 

Meanwhile, the famous St Petersburg Regional MP Milonov, author of the scandalous law on the so-called “propaganda of homosexualism”, has introduced a law proposal on the embryo’s rights. The Saint-Petersburg Regional Parliament is going to discuss the law proposal next week (September 17-21), and Milonov hopes that it will be sent then to the State Duma.

There are also, however, some positive changes we can report. After WHO issued its new Safe Abortion Guidance for Health Systems, the Russian Ministry of Healthcare and Social Development accordingly has initiated the development of its new Regulations (Poryadok= Order) on performance of abortion for medical institutions.

From: Director and Moscow team of RAPD

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Russia has just defunded most abortions – a dangerous and discriminatory act that will harm vulnerable groups of women the most. If anyone is interested in arguments about why all abortions must be fully funded, here’s a piece written for the Canadian situation but much of it could apply anywhere: www.arcc-cdac.ca/action/why-abortion-must-be-funded.html

 

The Russian Health Ministry has cut the list of social grounds that allow women to have a free abortion, which leaves sexual assault as the only excuse for women to abort their pregnancy.

“A pregnancy which occurs after sexual assault, is a social reason for a woman to have an abortion,” the Health Ministry said in a statement.

Other social factors that would have qualified a woman for a free abortion were; if there was a court decision to relieve a woman of her parental rights, if a woman was in jail, or if a father became disabled or died during a woman’s pregnancy.

Among the medical factors that give Russian women the right for a free abortion are AIDS infection, oncology, an active form of tuberculosis, grave genetic diseases and other health problems threatening a woman’s life.

There are both state-run and commercial clinics that carry out abortions in Russia. The former offer free services in case a woman has social or medical factors that need to be taken into account, while the latter allow women to have an abortion even if they do not qualify for a free one.

Russia argues that abortion makes the ongoing demographic crisis in the country even worse. This kind of propaganda to distract from the governments responsibilities for social and economic problems can be found in more and more eastern european countries. Forcing especially poor women in having babies wont make the problem of poverty go away.

The parliament may soon pass a new anti-abortion bill that could limit access to abortion services and toughen criminal punishment for doctors who carry out illegalized abortions.

The President of the Russian Federation , Dmitriy Medvedev, signed “Basics of the protection of the health of the citizens of Russian Federation ” act. The draft  went through three readings in the State Duma (lower house of Parliament) and was the subject of wide debate in Russian society with interventions from the Orthodox Church, civil society and academia, and was heavily criticized by the Head of the National Medical Chamber of the Russian Federation , Mr. Leonid Roshal. For its final reading, more than 300 amendments were presented, 109 of which were adopted. The new law introduces a new “silence period”, ie. a mandatory waiting period before performing an abortion. According to the article 55 § 3, abortions conducted on a woman’s request within first 12 weeks of pregnancy will require a waiting period of 48 hours in the case of pregnancy in the 4th-7th week or 11th-12th weeks, but not later than end of 12th week of pregnancy and with waiting period of 7 days in the case of the pregnancy of 8-9th weeks. The law also sets the provision for obtaining an abortion in Art 56 § 4 that reads: “Abortion is conducted on social grounds until 22 weeks of pregnancy and in case of medical need, irrespective of the duration of pregnancy” (social grounds are set by the Government of the Russian Federation). Additionally the law introduced the possibility of conscientious objection. It allows doctors to obstain from performing abortion but  in the case of refusal of the treating doctor to follow and treat the patient and in the case of notice in written form about the refusal to conduct an abortion, the official (head) of the medical organisation (division of medical organisation) must organise a replacement of the treating doctor. He new bill further guarantees free family planning consultations; free medical assistance during pregnancy, during delivery and post-pregnancy; provision of nutrition for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers as well as children under 3 years old.

Source: http://kremlin.ru/news/13612

 

By MANSUR MIROVALEV Associated Press © 2011 The Associated Press

May 30, 2011, 11:38AM

MOSCOW — Russia’s Orthodox Church teamed with Conservative parliamentarians Monday to push legislation that would radically restrict abortions in a nation struggling to cope with one of the world’s lowest birthrates.

The legislation would ban free abortions at government-run clinics and prohibit the sale of the morning-after pill without a prescription, said Yelena Mizulina, who heads a parliamentary committee on families, women and children.

She added that abortion for a married woman would also require the permission of her spouse, while teenage girls would need their parents’ consent. If the legislation is passed, a week’s waiting period would also be introduced so women could consider their decision to terminate their pregnancy, Mizulina said.

During the time of the Soviet Union, abortion laws were liberal, and unrestricted termination of pregnancy became virtually the only method of family planning. Sex education was frowned upon.

Russia’s abortion rates are still among the world’s highest, contributing to a fertility rate of only 1.4 children per woman — far below the 2.1 needed to maintain the existing population. The rate has become a serious concern for Russia as it fights to stem a steep population decline

Mizulina said she wants to see public debate on abortions before the bill is submitted to parliament, an apparent attempt to build support after similar legislation stalled last year.

A bill proposed in late 2010 called for the criminal prosecution of doctors who end late-term pregnancies, but it faced government opposition and was never put up for a vote.

The effort to restrict abortions has strong backing from the Russian Orthodox Church, which has sought a more muscular role in society in recent years. It counts more than 100 million Russians in a population of 143 million as its congregation, although polls show that only about 5 percent of Russians are observant.

“I hope that very soon we will live in a Russia without abortions,” church spokesman Vsevolod Chaplin said at Monday’s presentation.

According to a United Nations survey in 2004, Russia had the world’s highest abortion rate: 53.7 per 100 women.

Figures from the Russian Health Ministry suggest the rate may have declined in recent years, though it remains high: In 2009, there were 74 abortions for every 100 births in Russia, a significant drop in comparison with 169 abortions per 100 births in 2000.

The total number of abortions recorded by the Health Ministry in 2009 reached nearly 1.3 million.

Mizulina claims that the official statistics do not include pregnancies terminated at private clinics, or those stopped by morning-after pills, and the true number might be closer to 6 million.

She also proposed that the law be changed to allow women to leave unwanted children at orphanages anonymously without risking criminal prosecution for child abandonment.

It was unclear how much support the anti-abortion measures would receive in parliament.

Natalya Karpovich, a lawmaker with the dominant pro-Kremlin party United Russia, who is expecting her fifth child, said she supported stricter regulation of abortions. But she said banning the procedure in Russia was unrealistic and would only lead to more children whose parents were unwilling or unable to care for them.

Scary news from Russia, cited from a anti-choice website. Note the involvement of US based Focus on the Family, Concerned Women for America, and other local US groups. They may be proposing a 2 week waiting period, spousal consent requirement, limiting abortion on request from 12 to 8 weeks and proposing a conscientious objection provision.  They  also plan on proposing eliminating coverage of abortion under health insurance scheme and possibly restrictions on access to abortion on grounds of fetal impairment :

http://www.lifenews.com/2011/04/25/russian-duma-drafts-bill-to-cut-abortions-citing-underpopulation/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+lifenews%2Fnewsfeed+%28LifeNews.com%29

 

The nation is seeing worker and population shortages that are already beginning to take an economic toll. The nation’s Duma is considering legislation to address the problem.

Lawmakers in the lower house of the Russian parliament are working on legislation that they hope will cut the more than 1 million officially counted abortions taking place annually in the nation.

“The bill aims to create the conditions for a pregnant woman to opt for giving birth. We have public support but does the ruling party hear us?” Yelena Mizulina, head of the State Duma committee for family, women and children told the Ria Novosti news outlet.

The bill makes it so abortion would no longer be qualified as a medical service under the nation’s government-run health system, thus allowing physicians to opt out of doing them. The measure would also increase the monthly payments to pregnant women from the current 2,000 rubles ($70) a month until birth. The legislation could also make it illegal to do abortions in the second half of pregnancy.

“Doctors’ consent to do such operations is not the only problem. There are social and legal reasons behind the woman’s choice,” Mizulina said.

In a speech late last week, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin pledged to raise the nation’s birthrate by up to 30% in just three years. Due to a rapidly falling fertility, Russia has experienced a dramatic population decline, going from 148.5 million people in 1995 to 143 million today despite efforts by various governments to boost the birth rate. Unofficial estimates indicate that there are nearly 4 million abortions per year in Russia yet only 1.7 million live births.

Putin’s plan calls for spending the equivalent of 33 billion pounds to encourage Russian families to have more children. But World Congress of Families director Larry Jacobs says that more than cash incentives and government benefits will be needed to raise Russia’s well-below-replacement birth rate.

Against this underpopulation backdrop, the World Congress of Families will hold the world’s first demographic summit – “Moscow Demographic Summit: Family and the Future of Humankind” – at the Russian State Social University (RSSU), June 29-30.

RSSU is one of Russia’s largest public universities, with over 100,000 students, and the nation’s leading institution for educating social workers.

Jacobs noted the Summit comes at a crucial time. “It’s not Russia alone that’s experiencing demographic winter,” Jacobs observed.

“Worldwide, birthrates have declined by more than 50% since the late 1960s. By the year 2050, there will be 248 million fewer children under 5 years-old in the world than there are today. This birth dearth will be one of the greatest challenges confronting humanity in the 21st century,” he said.

Jacobs noted: “The Summit will include discussions of The Demographic Potential of Russia – The Importance of Pro-Family Public Policy in Russia and the West – Demographic Indicators of Developed and Developing Nations – The Crisis of Family: Marriage, Abortion, Contraception – Population Control – Influence of Demographics on Economic Processes – Human Capital and Family-Friendly Business Practices – Population Aging and Ways to Overcome Demographic Challenges.”

An array of prominent Russian speakers will include: Metropolitan Hilarion (Foreign Affairs coordinator of the Russian Orthodox Church), Dr. Zhukov V.I. (Rector of RSSU), Bishop Panteleimon (Russian Orthodox Church Social and Charitable Activities), Fr Dimitry Smirnov (ROC – Bioethics Commission), Natalia Yakunina (Sanctity of Motherhood Program, Center of National Glory), Fr Maxim Obukhov (ROC – Pro-Life Activities), Rostislav Ordovsky-Blanco (owner of Rosinter restaurant chain), Fr Vsevolod Chaplin (Relations of ROC and Society), Professor Anatoly Antonov (demographer, Moscow State Lomonosov University) and Igor Beloborodov, PhD (Institute of Demographic Research).

International Speakers confirmed include: Anna Zaborska (Member EU Parliament), Allan Carlson, Larry Jacobs and Don Feder (World Congress of Families), Patrick Fagan (Family Research Council), Steven Mosher (Population Research Institute), Philip Longman (New America Foundation), and Janice Shaw Crouse (Concerned Women for America).

Invited speakers include demographers, sociologists, economists, scholars, elected officials and leaders from around the world.

Source: Pro Feminism – Russia

24/01/2011 5:20 pm

Recently we have witnessed a number of statements made by high-ranking representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), which affect women’s dignity, rights and freedoms and justify discrimination and violence against them.

Take, for example, the head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for Relations with the Armed Forces, Archpriest Dimitry Smirnov, who made sexist, discriminatory and chauvinistic statements, which were in contradiction with The Constitution of the Russian Federation and The Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (ratified by the Russian Federation). While for the government it is certainly necessary to take measures to address high abortion rates, Archpriest Dimitry Smirnov suggested forbidding abortion by law and the introduction of a criminal penalty for having an abortion. While it is the position of the UN that there are not enough women in power, Archpriest Dimitry Smirnov tries to convince Russian women that they engage in politics – an activity deemed to be unsuitable for women – only because their family life is unsuccessful.

Addressing the conference on ethnic relations, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the head of the Synod for Church Social Relations, re-iterated two false stereotypes at once – that immigrants are prone to violence and women themselves should be blamed for being raped.

The pressure group “Pro Feminism” calls for action against these discriminatory statements by the Russian Orthodox Church and urges people to sign the petition to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, head of the ROC, asking him to repeal the ROC’s discriminatory policy against women and demand high-ranking members of the Church to apologise for their statements.

To sign the petition go to following link: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/russian-orthodox/

 

Members of the Orthodox Church in Russia have held pro-life car rallies  in Moscow and in two Russian towns, Orel and Ramenskoye.

The Orthodox Center for Pro-Life Education “Zhizn” (Life) and  Charity Fund for Protection of Family, Motherhood and Childhood organized the events, the second of their kind, which mark a significant moment in the development of pro-life work in Russia. They report (on their blog):

” … the second car rally was … an important step in the pursuit of the protection of children’s lives. We have, hopefully, pursuaded our followers to be more proactive in organizing pro-life rallies in all Russian regions … the Moscow road police tried to stop our “cortege” four times. Without success. Each time we convinced the policemen that our action was perfectly peaceful and absolutely legal.

“In the end, the pro-life motorcade has successfully passed through the city fully in accordance with the route we planned. In the same way we will do our best to make changes in the laws and to stop the infanticide in our dying out country and also in all countries of the world. We would like to thank heartily all participants of our rally. With our joint efforts, once again we have said in a loud voice: STOP to Abortions!”