Russian Lawmaker Withdraws Adoption Ban Amendment

MOSCOW, January 11 (RIA Novosti) – Russian lawmaker Robert Shlegel said on Friday he had recalled his proposed amendment to exempt disabled children from a controversial law banning adoption by American families.

Shlegel, a member of the ruling United Russia party, introduced the amendment in late December, saying that a total adoption ban would prevent some disabled children from finding their families.

“The amendment has been recalled as it cannot be adopted in its present form. The work on this proposal will continue within the framework of an inter-factional working group,” Shlegel wrote in his Twitter account.

The adoption ban is part of Russia’s response to the US Magnitsky Act, signed into law by US President Barack Obama last December. The Magnitsky Act calls for US travel and financial sanctions against Russian citizens deemed by the American government to have violated human rights.

Critics of the adoption ban said it would keep tens of thousands of children, especially those with disabilities, in Russia’s orphanage system. Figures from the US State Department show more than 60,000 Russian children adopted by American families in the last 20 years, including 962 last year.

Russian officials blame US adoptive parents for the deaths of at least 19 of those children. The adoption ban is named for Dima Yakovlev (Chase Harrison), a Russian toddler who died of heatstroke in 2008 after his American adoptive father left him in an overheated car for hours.


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