Russia and Abortion  by Larry Plachno- Decades of abortion have caused major population problems for Russia. The Bolsheviks legalized abortion shortly after they came to power in 1917. By 1934, the women in Moscow were having three abortions for every live birth. Joseph Stallin, the mass murderer, was so concerned that he banned abortion in 1936 fearing a sharp decline in the Russian population.

Nikita Krushchev, Stalin’s successor, brought back legalized abortion in 1955. Three years later, in 1958, there were five million abortion in the Soviet Union. In 1970, Russia had 3,000 abortion doctors performing 7.2 million abortions annually. In the 1980s, Soviet citizens accounted for 5-6% of the world’s population but 25% of the world’s abortions.

An article published in 2003 reported that 13% of Russian couples were infertile with the number increasing because of women having complications from abortions. While abortions had declined to 1.7 abortions for every live birth, the number of conceptions had declined because of contraception.

In 2003 Vladimir Putin implemented the first restrictions on abortion in Russia in 50 years, limiting abortion to within 12 weeks of gestation. In 2006, Putin announced an award of the equivalent of $9,000 to Russian couples on the birth of a second or any following children. This worked for a while but then the birth rate  began  to  level off  again  as  couples reached their desired number of children. One source indicates that the average Russian woman has seven abortions in her lifetime.

For many years, demographers have projected that Russia’s population will drop from 140-150 million to only 104 million in 2050. In addition to creating a shortage of workers, this will create a substantial imbalance with more older people and fewer younger people.

There are increasing concerns that Russia will have to look elsewhere for workers and this most likely will include poorer nations with largely Islamic people as well as Chinese and people from former Soviet states. The result could easily aggravate Russia’s already uneasy racial and religious tensions.

Just recently, the Russian legislature introduced a ban on advertisements for abortion in mainstream media. In the future, the advertisement of abortion can only appear in specialized medical media and in medical institutions.

Putin recently used his annual State of the Nation address to encourage more children. “The three child family should become the norm in Russia,” he said. Hundreds of pro-life and pro-family organizations, together with large families and activists from all over the Russia Federation are joining together into a National Parents Association. This NPA group is promoting the natural family – a husband and wife and their natural and adoptive children. Will they succeed or has abortion taken its toll on the Russian population?

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