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Russia

New Anti-Abortion Movement Emerges In Russia

Rising religious objections to the practice come 93 years after the Soviet Union became the first country to legalize abortions. Today, they are still legal - and free.

Norilsk maternity hospital
Norilsk maternity hospital
Ekakterina Borisenkova and Ivan Tyazhlov

SAMARA — Legislators from the Samara region in southwestern Russia would like to end federal funding for abortions, saying that providing them under the national health care law forces those who oppose them for religious reasons to bankroll “baby killing.”

The Samara delegation has introduced legislation in the federal Duma assembly that would remove elective abortions from the list of procedures covered by federal health insurance. It would have no effect on cases of rape or in situations when abortion is medically necessary. And it wouldn’t limit access to elective abortions for women, but they would be required to pay for the procedures themselves.

Abortions are currently legal — and free — for any woman up to 12 weeks of pregnancy. And abortions are legal for pregnancies between 12 and 22 weeks of gestation in cases of rape, and at any time during pregnancy when an abortion is deemed medically necessary. Minors would also still have access to free abortions.

The Soviet Union was the first country to legalize abortion, in 1920. The Soviet government then re-criminalized abortion from 1936 to 1955 — at which point abortion was once again made legal. Russian abortion laws have become stricter in the past decade, with a 2012 law limiting abortions between 12 and 22 weeks to cases of rape or medical necessity. At the same time, the number of abortions in Russia has been steadily declining, with less than a quarter as many abortions performed in 2011 as in 1990.

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Two Ukrainian soldiers at a military base on the outskirts of the separatist region of Donetsk

Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Halito!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where the first war crimes trial against a Russian soldier since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine gets underway in Kyiv, Kim Jong-un slams North Korean officials’ response to the coronavirus outbreak and Mexico’s National Registry of Missing People reaches a grim milestone. Meanwhile, Ukrainian news outlet Livy Bereg looks at the rise of ethnic separatism across Russia’s federal regions.

[*Choctaw, Native American]

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