A Russian MP representing populist nationalist party LDPR had drafted a bill under which women who refuse to have an abortion and give their newborn baby to the state would receive one-time monetary compensation of about $3,700.
The measure would allow the state “to boost the birth rate and give those children who were doomed to die before being born, a chance to live,” the sponsors of the bill wrote in an explanatory note attached with the draft.
“Currently, only about 20 percent of women who want an abortion abandon their intention. Material stimuli could help to significantly improve this figure,” State Duma MP Aleksandr Sherin has stated in the note.
The bill reads that, in order to receive the money, a pregnant woman must address the authorities with a set of papers, including her passport, a doctor’s certificate estimating how far along the pregnancy is, and the date on which she is expected to give birth. There should also be a special letter outlining an obligation not to undertake an abortion, certified by doctors.
The proposed amount of compensation is 250,000 rubles (about $3700), but the sponsors of the bill propose that it should be recalculated every year with adjustments for inflation. The bill separately specifies that no government agency or official can ask how the women spend this sum.
According to Sherin’s preliminary calculations, the estimated number of women who would accept the offer is between 150,000 and 200,000, which means that the budget for the project will not exceed 50 billion rubles per year (about $745 million).
The existing Russian law on abortions is fairly liberal, but conservative lawmakers are making attempts to tighten it. In May 2015, MPs representing the parliamentary majority United Russia party and the center-left opposition Fair Russia party drafted a bill that would limit state insurance payments for abortions, ban private clinics from performing them and allow women to buy morning-after pills only on prescription after an obligatory health check. The lawmakers also proposed that any woman seeking an abortion should undergo an ultrasound scan of her womb as, “according to statistics, up to 80 percent of them refuse to have the abortion when they see their child on the screen.”
The motion has not yet been passed by the State Duma.
The main sponsor of the anti-abortion drafts, MP Elena Mizulina (Fair Russia) earlier called upon the community to stop tolerating abortions and surrogacy, as they threaten to wipe out the population in Russia and the world as a whole. In mid-2014, a group of activists representing the Russian Orthodox Church claimed they had gathered 100,000 signatures for a petition seeking a complete ban on abortions in Russia – enough to make it a valid legislative initiative. However, that proposal has not yet made it into a bill.
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