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Russia Chooses Life

prolifeLast week, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law banning abortion advertising. Some members of the Duma (the Russian state assembly), are talking about going even further and banning the procedure itself.  The Russian Orthodox Church, whose numbers are swelling with converts and “reverts,” is weighing in as well.  One Orthodox prelate called abortion a “mutiny against God.” I couldn’t have put it better myself.

This is an amazing turn about in a country which has long been known for its tragically high abortion rate.  Until recently, the average woman in Russia could expect to have seven abortions over her lifetime.  Even The New York Times, no bastion of pro-life sentiment, has been compelled to acknowledge that Russia’s high abortion rate was damaging the health and fertility of Russian women. As the paper noted in a 2003 editorial, “Now the Russian government is attempting to slow the abortion rate.  It is an admirable goal, given the toll that multiple abortions have taken on the health and fertility of Russia’s women.” Not to mention the toll that abortion has taken on the unborn, and on the population as a whole.

Abortion was forced on the Russian people by the Bolsheviks (the Russian communist party under Lenin), who upon coming to power in 1920 legalized abortion up to birth without any restrictions. Their goal was to destroy the family by encouraging women to get abortions, get out of the home and into the workforce.  Russia was the first country in the world to declare war on the unborn in this way.  Of course, with its purges, mass executions, and Gulag it warred on the unborn in other ways as well.

In fact, it was the early Bolsheviks who developed the suction abortion machine that is still in use in abortion clinics today.  They actually developed two versions.  The first was the electric suction abortion machine used in abortion clinics in the U.S. and other countries. The second was the manual vacuum aspirator, a hand-held and operated abortion machine that is used in less developed countries in places where no electric power is available.

PRI has played a role in helping to turn Russia back to life.  I participated in the first Demographic Summit at the Russian State Social University in Moscow in May, 2011.  We talked with senior Russian leaders about the need to protect life.  Not long thereafter, a law was passed banning abortion of unborn babies older than 12 weeks.  It also mandated a waiting period of 2-7 days for those wanting an abortion, and required that anyone advertising abortion services include a warning to the effect that “abortion is hazardous to a woman’s health.”  Now, of course, advertising of any kind has been banned.

Taken individually, each of the laws put in place by the Russian government has a fairly small demographic impact.  The Russian government, for example, pays a one-time baby bonus of $13,000 to the parents of every newborn.  According to Russian demographer Igor Beloborodov, however, this generous bonus has only convinced 8 percent of couples of reproductive age to consider having another child.

The cumulative effect of all of the pro-life, pro-natal policies taken to date is far more significant. While there are still, according to the Russian Health Ministry, 1.7 abortions for every live birth in the country, that ratio is shrinking as the birth rate climbs and abortion becomes gradually less common.

As a result of the adoption of enlightened policies to protect the sanctity of human life, Russia’s population decline has been virtually halted, and the country has been put on a more stable demographic course.

Russia’s demographic winter is not yet over, but there are signs of a spring thaw.


Steve Mosher is the president of Population Research Institute.
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  • Tomacz Tesla

    God will bless President Putin for his courageous actions. The countries that legalized abortion will be accursed by God and not a few of them will be erased from the face of the earth. Look it up. It’s in the Bible.

    • goral

      God will not bless Putin and his KGB murderous machine. This move is motivated by self-preservation. The fewer subjects a king has the less of a king he is. Putin is a Bolshevik at heart just as is our democratically elected dictator.

      The difference is that Russia appears to be climbing out of the Marxist morass in which it has wallowed for nearly a century while we are sliding down to take their place.

      • God says he will show favor upon even the wicked when they do a good deed. Think the Kings of Syria and Babylon or Persia were truly righteous godly men?

        Will it mean something in the long term? Who knows. But sometimes we can just breathe a sigh of relief that in this dark dark world, occasionally there is moderately good news. Sometimes.

        • melanie

          I always tell myself that when I cannot look at the ‘wicked’ with mercy and love, then there is something in ME that has to go. Only God can judge a man’s heart but the evil one loves when we judge and condemn our fellow man

          • Tomacz Tesla

            SARCASM ALERT. That Saul of Tarsus is a persecutor of the Church, a thug with a murderous heart. I don’t believe for a moment in his conversion. Once a Pharisee always a Pharisee. END OF SARCASM ALERT “On that day, the depths of My Divine Mercy will be open to all.”

      • Tomacz Tesla

        If Putin and his country are not blessed for passing laws against abortion, militant homosexuality, etc. I would be surprised. KGB he was. Our Lady spoke of the conversion of Russia in Fatima, didn’t she? I know the PM of Russia and his wife are faithful Orthodox, so is now Mr. Putin and so was his mother. How does he compare to J. Edgar Hoover in your mind and how can you see his inner motivations and condemn them with such certainty?
        Russia is not going back to Marxism and her troubles began long ago with the disobedience of Basil III father of Ivan and founder of the Romanov dynasty. Russian population growth is beginning to stabilize a good and biblical sign of God’s blessing.

        • goral

          KGB he is, that’s how he holds power. You are most naive in thinking otherwise. Just because he rode bare-chested on horseback doesn’t mean he has converted.
          I welcome his and Russia’s conversion. There is definitely a glimmer of light. Vladimir Visotski and Bulat Okudzhava were more Christian under Communism than are our “free” artists. I want Russia to renounce her evil ways.

    • Tomacz Tesla

      At Fatima, on July 13, 1917, Our Lady told Sister Lucy of Fatima:

      “God is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the Communions of reparation and for the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart … In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, which will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.”

  • goral

    I’m anticipating someone calling down God’s blessings on Planned Parenthood as they skillfully employ the Bolshevik abortion apparatus.
    Putin is the prince of today’s KGB, probably the last remnant of the Stalinist era.
    I’m completely disgusted by any good feelings toward him.
    On the other hand, I’m cautiously in favor of several of his present moves, this being one of them. A saved life is a saved, sacred, precious life, no matter who makes the call.
    God bless Russia for continuing in this direction.

    • rv

      Admittedly, I am a near-total ignoramus about this, but I do have some observations. In Russia, the Orthodox church is growing. In the United States, the Church is floundering. Abortion is being suppressed in Russia. In the U.S., abortion is aggressively promoted by the government. In Russia, their president is unabashedly masculine. In the U.S., our wimpy, skinny little president is a militant proponent of the homosexual agenda.

      Just sayin’….

      • goral

        I agree with your take on this, rv, with the exception of Putin being a man’s man. Masculine he is, but in the sense that everyone who disagrees with him gets squelched by the full force of his former position. That’s politics in Russia.