by Steven Ertelt
November 5, 2007
Moscow, Russia (LifeNews.com) — The Russian government’s health ministry has approved an informed consent agreement that women having abortions are urged to sign. The new agreement is similar to the Right to Know laws pro-life advocates in the United States have approved that require abortion practitioners to tell women of abortion’s risks.
The effort is to help reduce the number of abortions in the nation, which has seen the practice decimate its population, the Russian news daily Kommersant reported.
Russia has significant underpopulation problems because abortion has been used for so long as a method of birth control.
The new informed consent document lists possible medical and mental health complications resulting from an abortion and women getting it would be told the fact that it is not necessarily a safe medical procedure.
Unlike American laws, abortion practitioners aren’t required to present the document but are urged to do so and to sign the consent form indicating they have presented the range of possible complications if they use it.
The consent forms involve abortions where an unborn child is no more than 12 weeks old.
The Russian population has been shrinking since the 1990s as abortion became a means of birth control. The nation is the largest in the world but it has just 141.4 million citizens — less than half of the United States.
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 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.
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.
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.
The underpopulation crisis is producing problems such as worker shortages and an inability to support the country’s elderly population.
Many European countries have long had policies and programs in place that are intended to raise the birth rate by offsetting some of the costs and consequences of childbearing.
The Russian government has been working to address the problem and has given couples a one-time bonus where it provides parents with a fixed sum of money. Each family receives a bonus of $9,600 following the birth of a second child and any subsequent children.
That’s a huge sum of money in a country where the average monthly salary is $330.
Steven Mosher, the president of the Population Research Institute, says the policies have not been working, in part because the nations continue to fund and promote abortion on demand.
"Allowing women to act on their fertility preferences would further increase fertility, thus creating more vital and irreplaceable human capital," he says.
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.
The result of these dynamics put together is seen in a recent UN report that shows the Russian population shrinking by one-third by 2050.