Blow to women’s rights? Russian MPs suggest ban on abortion in private clinics, restricting procedure to state-owned facilities

Over 100 years ago, Soviet Russia became the first country in the world to legalize elective abortion. Now, MPs are considering limiting the right to choose, possibly restricting a long-standing freedom for the country’s women.

On Thursday, MP Inga Yumasheva from the ruling United Russia party proposed a new law to ban private clinics from the offering termination of pregnancies. According to her, restricting the procedure to just state-run medical facilities would “significantly improve both the [abortion] statistics and the understanding of the reasons why a woman takes such a step.”

The politician also suggested banning underage girls from having an abortion without parental consent.

On the same day, MP Vladimir Krupennikov suggested toughening the responsibility for the promotion of abortion, including banning materials that advertise termination of pregnancy as safe.

“I consider it necessary to propose a number of legislative initiatives aimed at establishing responsibility for the dissemination of information that promotes abortion,” he said.

The suggestions were made during a conference of United Russia on ‘family values’ held in Moscow, aimed at creating new laws to “strengthen families.”

In 1920, Soviet Russia became the world’s first country to legalize the voluntary termination of pregnancy. In the years since, it has been banned and then re-introduced, and is now permitted in both state-run and private clinics, with federal restrictions on term length.

In recent years, conservative figures have made attempts to change abortion laws. Last year, veteran far-right MP Vladimir Zhirinovsky proposed paying women who choose to give up their child for adoption, rather than terminating their pregnancy.

The Russian Orthodox Church has also made a stance against the legal termination of pregnancy, asking the government to remove the procedure from national health insurance. The church, however, does not believe the practice should be banned.

Also on Russian Orthodox Church has ‘soft & flexible’ stance on abortion & does not demand practice be made illegal, spokesman reveals

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