Doctors working in Kamchatka Peninsula medical establishments on June 1, when the International Children’s Defense Day is celebrated, refused to provide pregnancy termination services, the region’s press service announced.
The initiative was proposed by Hegumen Pyotr, the Rector of Russia’s Orthodox University. It was also bolstered by the local branch of the Health Ministry. Performing abortion on the International Children’s Defense Day is “hypocrisy,” Hegumen Pyotr said.
“At least on this day, everyone on whom this decision depends, should tap into the voice of conscience and impose a moratorium on filicide in our country,” the hegumen said.
The number of abortions performed in Russia each year is almost equal to the number of babies born. According to data provided by the Russian Health Ministry, in 2008 there were 1.7 million births in Russia and 1.2 million abortions.
Russian law permits abortions up to the 12th week of pregnancy. If the future mother is suffering from tuberculosis or mental illness she is permitted to terminate a pregnancy later than 12 weeks.
There is also a variety of social factors, which enable women to terminate pregnancies up to the 22nd week of pregnancy, including rape, imprisonment and poverty, and death or severe disability of the husband.
Nonetheless, Illegal abortion is widespread in Russia – unofficial estimates say 10-15% of the total, or up to 180,000 terminations.
A quarter of deaths among pregnant women are the result of illegal abortions, but according to investigators, there were just 28 cases opened into illegal abortions in 2009. The figure was 27 in 2008, and over those two years less than 10 cases made it to court.