Russia Sees 1.5 Million Legal Abortions Annually, 120K Women Injured

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 22, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Russia Sees 1.5 Million Legal Abortions Annually, 120K Women Injured Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 22
, 2006

Moscow, Russia ( — The number of abortions in Russia is now about 1.5 million annually, just under the number of births there, which number 1.6 million per year. However, despite abortion’s legal status, women continue to be injured by it and as many as 120,000 women experience medical problems following abortions.

The number of abortions in Russia has been alarmingly high for years as Russian women use abortion as a method of birth control.

New figures show that abortions are on the decline there, but some estimates indicate as many as 10-15 percent of all abortions aren’t recorded by the government meaning abortions probably still outnumber births there.

Vladimir Serov, the deputy director of the Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Perinatology Center at the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, told the Russian media source Regnum that 120,000 women are injured each year from legal abortions.

He said numerous Russian women suffer from sterility, endometriosis and other problems following abortions.

Ultimately, about 8 percent of all women having abortions experience significant medical problems.

Abortion has also led to a significant problem of premature births and Serov said Russian women typically have 160,000 miscarriages a year and there are 60,000 premature births annually.

Abortion has also brought on a severe underpopulation problem and the eastern European nation has tried financial incentives to try to stem the tide.

President Vladimir Putin in May defined the crisis as the nation’s biggest problem and the government is offering hefty bonuses to women who have a second child.

Putin ordered the Russian parliament to more than double the monthly child support payments to about $55 US monthly. Women who choose to have a second child can qualify for as much as $9,200 — a huge sum of money in a country where the average monthly salary is $330.

Yet, the Christian Science Monitor newspaper talked with women at a local family planning center who said the money isn’t incentive to them to have more children.

Russia’s birthrate has been on the decline for decades and, in 2004, was just 1.17 babies per woman. It was twice as much in 1990, according to the Federal State Statistics Service. Population demographers say that 2.4 children born per woman is necessary for any nation to sustain its population.

Russia’s death rate rose to 16.3 in 2002 from 10.7 per thousand people in 1988 — high peacetime numbers.

The result of these dynamics put together is seen in a recent UN report which shows the Russian population shrinking by one-third by 2050. That could leave the nation unable to field an army to defend itself, man factories and other labor-intensive businesses and provide for older Russians in their retirement years.

Putin has also focused on adoption to promote the population and foreign adoptions of Russian children are on the decline. He has asked parliament to increase to $166 per month the stipend given to families that adopt children.