MOSCOW, July 19, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Dmitry Medvedev, the president of the Russian Federation, has signed a new law that requires abortion advertisements to include health warnings explaining the medical risks associated with the procedure. The law requires abortionists to devote 10 percent of all advertising to describing the dangers of abortion and makes it illegal to describe abortion as a “safe medical procedure.”
The law also includes a stipulation that women who do not want to keep their babies may leave them in the care of adoption centres. Signed on July 14, it will take effect in 30 days.
Further restrictions on abortion are expected to be passed in the Duma in the autumn, including a two-week waiting period for abortion and a requirement for spousal consent. Also under consideration is a move to declassify abortion as a medical procedure covered by the state health system.
Information posted to the government’s website said the bill is “directed on the whole towards protecting women’s health and makes it mandatory for advertising of medical services on the artificial termination of pregnancy to include warnings on the danger of this procedure for women’s health and the possible harmful consequences, including infertility.”
Until the passage of more restrictions, abortion remains legal on demand, and paid for by the state, up to the 12th week of pregnancy.
The Russian government is taking steps to curb the national abortion rate, which is rated the highest in the world. While official government statistics show the abortion rate as slowing, Russian women still have an average of seven abortions through their lifetimes. The number of abortions in 2009 was officially placed at 1.3 million, but it is widely acknowledged that the actual numbers are much higher.
According to statistics gathered by the United Nations, the Russian abortion rate remains the highest in the world, with 53.7 per 1000 women. This may be compared with China, which has a national and heavily enforced one child policy, with 24.2 per 1000 women, and communist Cuba with 24.8 per 1000. High rates of abortion also plague many other post-Soviet Bloc countries, including Kazakhstan at 35.0 per 1000, Estonia at 33, Belarus at 31.7, Latvia at 27.3 and Hungary at 23.4.
Overall, statistics of post-communist Russia show a nation facing a massive demographic collapse.
Russia’s population peaked at just under 150 million in 1991, just before the breakup of the Soviet Union, and has seen a steady decline since. Despite recent increases, the population growth rate is still in the negative numbers at -0.47 percent, and the total fertility rate stands at 1.42 children born per woman, well below the replacement rate for developed countries of 2.1. The median age for women in the Russian Federation is 41.9 years. The UN warned in 2005 that Russia’s population could fall a third by 2050 if trends do not improve.
The high abortion rate in Russia is accompanied by abysmal conditions in a number of other areas. Due to poor economic conditions, the rise of organized crime and the opening of international borders, Russia has become one of the world’s largest sources of human trafficking, particularly for women and children who are sold into forced prostitution. International law enforcement agencies report that Western Russia, particularly St. Petersburg, is a common destination for men from North America and Western Europe for child “sex tourism.”
The World Health Organisation reports that Russia has the second highest suicide rate in the world, at 72.9 male suicides per 100,000 population, following Lithuania at 73.7 men per 100,000. The suicide rate mirrors the abortion rate, with the highest rates being found in the former Soviet Bloc countries: in Estonia 64.3 men commit suicide per 100,000, followed by Latvia at 59.5, Kazakhstan at 51.9, Hungary at 49.5, Belarus at 48.7 and Slovenia at 48.0.
Russia suffers from one of the world’s highest rates of divorce, with 3.36 per 1,000 people, behind the U.S. and Puerto Rico and followed by the United Kingdom.