Abortion in Russia on the Decline But Still Used as Form of Birth Control

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 7, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Abortion in Russia on the Decline But Still Used as Form of Birth Control Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
March 7, 2006

Moscow, Russia (LifeNews.com) — The number of abortions in Russia is on the decline and has dropped by half over its high 1990s levels, but it still predominantly used as a form of birth control by Russian women. Anatoly Vishnevsky, the head of a Russian demographic center discussed the latest abortion figures.

"In 1990 Russia recorded 114 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15 and 50. Now we’re recording 45 abortions per 1,000 women," Vishnevsky explained.

He added that there were 206 abortions for every 100 live births in Russia in 1990 and that perilous number has dropped to 122 abortions for every 100 life births.

Although the reductions in the number of abortions is a great "success" Vishnevsky said, he indicated more needed to be done to reduce the numbers. Vishnevsky proposed more educational efforts aimed at improving contraception use among young Russians.

Russians were "sometimes violently opposed to family planning and sex education programs" and abortion was "still used as a means of conception," he explained.

The Russian government undertook a sexual education campaign starting in the 1990s, which Vishnevsky said was responsible for lowering the total number of annual abortions in the nation from 2.3 million abortions in 2003 to 1.61 million in 2005.

The huge abortion rates have caused significant demographic problems for Russia as the nation’s population has been shrinking. The population is now down to 143 million, six million fewer than when the Soviet Union broke apart in 1991.

In January, Rev. Maxim Obukhov, the head of the Zhizn (Life) Orthodox medical and educational center, said abortion was to blame for the nation’s demographic crisis.

He talked about the inordinately high number of healthy women who have abortions on healthy babies.

"The believing women who got a medical prescription for an abortion usually come to us, and we direct them to other medical doctors for examination," he explained.

"As a rule, healthy babies were born in 99 percent cases," Rev. Maxim said.

Answering a question from the Russian paper about who profits from abortions, Rev. Maxim said that there was a mechanism through which foreign pubic organizations control the demographic situation in our country to their own advantage.

According to official government figures, 70 percent of all pregnancies in Russia end in abortion.

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 last April.

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.