MOSCOW, August 27, 2003 ( – Russian legislators are bringing forward new legislation to limit the high abortion rate that is decimating the country’s population.

The former Soviet Union was the world’s first nation to legalize abortion in 1920.  Abortion was the favourite “birth control” method during Soviet rule, and Russia still has one of the world’s highest abortion rates: twice as many babies are aborted in Russia as are born.  President Vladimir Putin has called Russia’s dramatic population decline “a creeping catastrophe.” What’s more, Russian authorities are admitting that some abortions have adverse consequences for a woman’s health.  “Artificial termination of pregnancy after week 12 is fraught with grave consequences for a woman’s health,” says a Health Ministry official. “Abortions account for 30% of maternal mortality in Russia. It has been decided to reduce these dangers.”  For newswire coverage: