Russian Duma Bill Bans Abortion Ads in Media to Reduce High Figures

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 24, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Russian Duma Bill Bans Abortion Ads in Media to Reduce High Figures

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 24
, 2008

Moscow, Russia ( — With the number of abortions in Russia remaining so high they outpace births, the Russian legislature has introduced a ban on advertisements for abortion in mainstream media outlets. The ban relegates any ads to medical publications that are not as visible in the general public.

The Duma hopes the abortion ad ban will help change the culture in Russia where women view abortion as a form of birth control.

"The document introduces a ban on abortions in any media," deputy chairman of the Duma Health Committee Sergei Kolesnikov said according to RIA Novosti. "The advertisement of abortion can appear only in specialized medical media, and in medical institutions."

Kolesnikov said the legislation has an "educational character," aiming to "remind people that the problem exists."

The Moscow News Weekly says three of the four parties in the parliament are behind the proposed abortion ad ban, including the majority United Russia, A Just Russia, and the Communist Party.

Abortion ads are ubiquitous in Russian periodicals and that is seen as part of the reason nations like Russia have about 105 abortions for every 100 births. In other Industrialized nations, such as the United States, one in five pregnancies end in abortion.

Should the abortion ad ban begin to drive down the abortion figures, Kolesnikov said other legislative measures may follow.

One could see abortions banned at private abortion businesses, like Planned Parenthood and freestanding abortion centers in the United States. That would make it so abortions are only attainable at hospitals.

Another measure could force private abortion centers to make a public report about the abortions they do.

"Private medical facilities should start being lawfully regulated and forced to provide information about its services," he told RIA Novosti. "There is no information about how many abortions are performed in [private clinics], and they do not give statistics."

Because abortion has been used for decades as a method of birth control, Barry McLerran, the producer of the new film Demographic Winter, says the nation is expected to lose one- third of its current population by 2050.

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.

Earlier this month, a new survey from a Russian sociological research center found people becoming more pro-life on abortion.

The Levada Center indicated that, since 1998, the number of people saying they take a moral approach to the issue of abortion has risen from 25 to 35 percent.

It found older Russians are most likely to view abortion as a sin against God with 51 percent of those aged 55 or older saying so.

Younger Russians are becoming more likely to take that view with 27 percent of those 18-27, 30 percent of people 25-39 and 40 percent of people 40-54 taking that view.