‘No way!’: Russia’s Health Ministry vocally decries calls to ban abortions

“We won’t solve the problem with restrictive measures, but only make it worse,” Deputy Health Minister Tatyana Yakovleva said, adding that she was a pediatrician herself and knew the issue from the inside.

Making abortions illegal “will only lead to increased maternal and infant mortality as well as criminalization of the situation. No way!” she warned the guests of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).

Besides, the Russian state has already successfully managed to bring the abortion rate down through consulting and supporting women, Yakovleva pointed out. According to her stats, 582,000 such operations, not caused by medical grounds, were performed in the country in 2013, while last year the number of abortions requested by females only stood at 294,450.

The trend reveals that women in Russia are themselves trying to avoid having an abortion if it’s possible, she said.

The deputy minister’s words were in sharp contrast with a recent statement by the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, who insisted that Russia’s population will increase to 156 million by 2029 and to 166 million by 2039 if induced termination of pregnancy is made illegal.

In recent years, the Church has been actively advocating a ban on free abortions, saying that it’s wrong that state funds are used to “kill life.” The initiative garnered some support from the public, and backing from a number of MPs, but never came close to becoming a law.

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