Thursday, June 2, 2011

Attempts to reverse Russia's declining population

The Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues (PNCI) reports that Russian Members of Parliament have teamed up with the Russian Orthodox Church to introduce legislation to dramatically reduce abortions. Russia, which according to a 2004 UN survey has one of the world's highest abortion rates at 53.7 per 100 women, also has one of the lowest birth rates.  See report

The proposal would ban free abortions at government clinics, make the morning-after pill only available with a prescription, and require spousal consent for married women and parental consent for adolescents seeking abortions. Yelena Mizulina, sponsor and chair of the State Duma Committee for Women's Affairs, Family and Children, added that the legislation would also institute a week-long waiting period for abortion and create "safe haven" centers for women to leave babies under six months. 

While the Russian Health Ministry's data, reaching 1.3 million abortions in 2009, does show a decline in the numbers of abortions, Mizulina points out that the Ministry does not include abortions at private clinics and from the morning-after pill and suggests the number is closer to 6 million abortions.   

The World Congress of Families has also made arrangements for a major conference on World population decline in Moscow at the end of this month. The first summit on the worldwide phenomenon of rapidly declining birthrates – The Moscow Demographic Summit: Family and The Future of Humankind -- will take place at the Russian State Social University, June 29-30, sponsored by the World Congress of Families. 
World Congress of Families Managing Director Larry Jacobs noted: 

“Russia is ground-zero for demographic winter. With an average birthrate of 2.1 children per woman needed just to replace current population, Russia’s is only 1.2. Little wonder Russia’s population has declined from 148.5 million in 1995 to 143 million today. Some demographers believe it could fall below 120 million by mid-point in this century. Adding to the tragedy, it’s estimated that there are 4 million abortions a year in Russia, and only 1.7 million live births.”