Russia Lawmakers Propose Ban on Abortions Without Husband’s Input

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 24, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Russia Lawmakers Propose Ban on Abortions Without Husband’s Input Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 24
, 2006

Moscow, Russia ( — Two Russian lawmakers say that legalized abortion leaves out the opinion of husbands and have proposed legislation allowing them to have input before their spouse can abort their child. The bill requires spousal consent before an abortion facility can do an abortion on a married woman.

Alexander Krutov and Nikolay Leonov of the Rodina political faction proposed the bill in the State Duma.

"No abortion unless husband allows it," Krutov told the Interfax news agency about his legislation.

The draft text of the bill says that an unmarried woman can have an abortion on her own but both the married woman and her husband must both consent to the abortion in the case of a married couple.

In order for the abortion to be done, the husband must appear at the abortion business with his wife and sign a consent form along with her. Anyone forging a consent document could be jailed.

Krutov also said that the bill would help reduce the number of abortions at a time when Russia is facing sever underpopulation problems. The use of abortion as birth control has caused the nation’s population to plummet and the country will eventually have a hard time finding enough workers and supporting its elderly citizens.

"Two hundred thousand women have their first abortion every year," Krutov added, saying that many Russian women suffer complications following their abortion even though abortion is legal.

"I hope this initiative, if developed, will mean that the embryo murders would be less," he added in rough English.

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. About 120,000 women experience medical problems following abortions.

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.

To combat the underpopulation problems, Russia has also 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.

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.