Russians Still Have More Abortions Than Births New Figures Show

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 23, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Russians Still Have More Abortions Than Births New Figures Show Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 23, 2005

Moscow, Russia ( — A leading doctor says new figures show Russians are still using abortion as a form of birth control and abortions continue to outnumber births. About 1.6 million women had abortions last year, with 20 percent of them under the age of 18. Meanwhile, there were 1.5 million women giving birth in the nation.

Vladimir Kulakov, vice president of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences in Moscow, said the number of abortions was likely higher because "many more" abortions are never reported.

Kulakov said Russians opt for abortions in such high numbers because most Russian families can’t afford additional children and Russian teens and young adults without good jobs can’t pay for the cost of having kids.

"The appearance of a first child pushes many families into poverty,” Kulakov said today. "Potential parents first try to start a career, stand on their feet and so forth.”

On average, Russians had approximately 23 percent more abortions than women in the United States in 2004, even though the former communist nation is only half the size of the U.S. in terms of population.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called the nation’s low birth rate a "national problem” in his annual address in April, Bloomberg News reports.

That has resulted in problems with younger Russians unable to support older citizens. The number of Russians drawing a pension check outnumbered children and teenagers for the first time ever five years ago.

Abortion has been considered a form of birth control for years, but abortions drop during the 1990s as more Russians became educated.

Meanwhile, Tom and Ann Murray of Sandusky, Ohio helped a team of Russian doctors and nurses came to the U.S. to learn from a master of perinatal care, Dr. Alfred Brann, a pediatrics professor at Emory University. As a result of this period of study, the Russian health care professionals were able to learn the latest techniques in maternal and pediatric care.

Given outdated equipment and antiquated training, Russian doctors have had difficulty detecting health problems in pregnant women and unborn children, as well as establishing effective fetal monitoring during labor and delivery.

The Murrays established the Future of Russia Foundation in August of 2001, an American, nonprofit enterprise designed to help Russia build a modern health care system for women and infants. Through the foundation, the Murrays hoped to reduce maternal and infant mortality in Russia.