Lawmakers in Russia have submitted a bill to the parliament requesting a ban on abortions in private clinics and to exclude them from state insurance policies.
The conservative measure embraces church values and permits abortions to be covered by state healthcare only if the pregnancy threatened a woman's life, according to one of the authors of the bill, Yelena Mizulina.
AdvertisementThe bill has been added to parliament's database and will have to be reviewed by the chamber's speaker before being put to a vote.
Mizulina said, "Free medical care programs are directed first of all towards saving lives and (the) health of people. An abortion is not a medical or health-improving procedure and is not a strict necessity. Money saved from the state healthcare budget will be used to support pregnant women in a tough life situation."
Mizulina said that her bill would not ban abortions altogether, as women could still go to a state clinic and pay for the procedure.
Russia is known to have an extremely high abortion rate, as it was one of the few methods of birth control in the Soviet era, peaking in the 1960s. Rates have steadily declined since the fall of the Soviet Union, but they are still higher than most developed countries.
The numbers went down with wider availability of birth control as well as government measures to boost birth rates, such as social benefits to families with multiple children.
The country registered more than one million abortions in 2013. Nearly 28 per 1,000 women of childbearing age underwent an abortion, while fewer than 540,000 babies were born in the same year.
Abortion has been legal in Russia from 1920 and permitted for all women in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. At later stages they are allowed for medical reasons or after a rape.
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