By Tim Waggoner

  ST. PETERSBURG, October 1, 2008 ( – Alarmingly high abortion rates in Russia are leaving an increasing number of women infertile, said Marina Tarasova, deputy head of the St. Petersburg Research Institute For Gynecology and Obstetrics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, at an international conference on Monday.

  The St. Petersburg Times reported that with 64 percent of Russian women procuring abortions, 200,000 to 250,000 women each year are stripped of their biological ability to procreate because of permanent effects from the procedure.

“Over the past five years, female infertility in Russia has increased by 14 percent, and over 1.5 million Russians need advanced medical technology to become pregnant and maintain a healthy pregnancy,” Tarasova said.

  She also mentioned that by the end of last year, there were 5.5 million infertile couples in the country.

  In the teenage population, one in four women have a gynecological ailment or reproductive disorder. Furthermore, over the last five years, there has been a 30 percent increase in the number of women aged 15-17 who have experienced these health problems. 

  The Russian government is attempting to promote family values within the country, naming 2008, “The Year of the Family.”  Abortions, however, are still offered free of charge at all state clinics.