MOSCOW—Russia's Orthodox Church teamed with Conservative parliamentarians Monday to push legislation that would radically restrict abortions in a nation struggling to cope with one of the world's lowest birthrates.Read the rest here.
The legislation would ban free abortions at government-run clinics and prohibit the sale of the morning-after pill without a prescription, said Yelena Mizulina, who heads a parliamentary committee on families, women and children.
She added that abortion for a married woman would also require the permission of her spouse, while teenage girls would need their parents' consent. If the legislation is passed, a week's waiting period would also be introduced so women could consider their decision to terminate their pregnancy, Mizulina said.
During the time of the Soviet Union, abortion laws were liberal, and unrestricted termination of pregnancy became virtually the only method of family planning. Sex education was frowned upon.
Russia's abortion rates are still among the world's highest, contributing to a fertility rate of only 1.4 children per woman -- far below the 2.1 needed to maintain the existing population. The rate has become a serious concern for Russia as it fights to stem a steep population decline.