The Russian State Duma Health Committee is set to discuss proposed changes to the country’s abortion law that aim to impose stricter regulations, according to reports from RBK news on Friday. The amendments, which were developed by the Russian Orthodox Church, were presented by committee member Veronika Vlasova during a panel on the state of abortions in Russia.
One of the main proposals in the initiative is to require the consent of a woman’s family members before she can undergo the procedure. If the woman is married, the “informed consent” of her husband would also be necessary. For underage girls, approval from at least one parent would be required. Currently, Russian law allows women to decide on abortion without the input or approval of others.
Furthermore, the amendments suggest banning abortions after eight weeks of pregnancy, instead of the current 12-week limit. However, rape victims would still be able to request the procedure up to 12 weeks, rather than the current 22 weeks.
In addition, the proposed changes would introduce mandatory pre-abortion counseling for women, including an ultrasound scan to show the baby’s beating heart. The contemplation period would also be extended from 48 hours to one week. Private clinics would be prohibited from performing abortions, and the “encouragement” or “propaganda” of abortion would be subject to administrative penalties, such as fines. Illegal pregnancy terminations would also face increased punishments.
The Health Committee plans to review the proposed amendments within a month. If approved, they could be presented to the State Duma for further debate and a potential vote.
This move to tighten abortion laws in Russia is not the first. Last month, the children’s rights commissioner in the Republic of Tatarstan, Irina Volynets, suggested banning private clinics from performing abortions. However, the proposal was declined by the Duma, as it could lead to an increase in unsafe clandestine abortions and a higher mortality rate.
Another example of efforts to restrict abortions in Russia is the Republic of Mordovia, which became the first region in the country to officially ban the “promotion” of abortions. Anyone encouraging women to undergo the procedure or pressuring their relatives to support abortion now faces administrative fines.
These proposed changes to Russia’s abortion laws reflect a trend towards stricter regulations in the country. While abortion rights remain intact, the amendments aim to limit and control access to the procedure, according to the beliefs and values supported by the Russian Orthodox Church. It remains to be seen how these proposed changes will be received and debated within Russia’s government and society as a whole.