Russian City Prepares for Week Without Abortions to Combat Underpopulation

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

Russian City Prepares for Week Without Abortions to Combat Underpopulation

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 24
, 2008

Novorossiysk, Russia ( — A Russian city located in the southern part of the nation near the Black Sea is starting a campaign called a "Week Without Abortions." The idea is to temporarily prohibit abortions in the city and encourage couples to have children in an effort to combat the growing underpopulation problem.

Russia, like many of its neighbors in Eastern Europe, is experiencing severe underpopulation thanks to abortion being used as a method of birth control for decades.

Most demographers generally believe that Russia’s current population of 144 million will fall to 115 million by 2050. But Murray Feshbach, with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, thinks Russia’s population will drop to 101 million and could go as low as 77 million by mid-point in this century.

During the Novorossiysk campaign this week, abortion practitioners will not be allowed to do abortions except in the most extreme cases involving potential death to the mother.

Instead, residents are urged to try to get pregnant, and pregnant women will have access to a special phone number to receive help and support for carrying the pregnancy to term and beyond.

The Russian Novosti television station reports that universities in the city will have presentations on the damaging physical and medical problems that can result from having an abortion.

It indicated the Russian health ministry has said there are complications with 10-15 percent of the abortions there, even though they are legal. About 7-8 percent of the women who get abortions become sterile as a result.

The station indicated the abortion-free week was timed to coincide with the Russian Day of Motherhood, which takes place on the last Sunday in November.

The number of abortions and the abortion rate in Russia is among the highest in the world and 100,000 more abortions were done in 2004 than there were births.

Barry McLerran, producer of "Demographic Winter," a documentary on underpopulation problems, says the Russian underpopulation problem is severe and national and local authorities have tried numerous giveaways, special days and other efforts to boost its population.

"Russia has one of the lowest birth rates in the world at 1.17 children per woman," he told "A nation needs a birth rate of 2.1 just to replace current population."

"Because of its low birth rate and early deaths — due to disease and other factors — Russia is losing approximately 750,000 people a year," he explained.

For every child that a family has after the first, the Russian government pays parents the equivalent of $9,200. There’s even a "National Day of Conception." None of it seems to be working.

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