Changes in abortion regulations in Russian Federation

On 24 February 2016, we reported that a bill was tabled in the Russia parliament in January 2016 aimed to “rule out the uncontrolled use of pharmaceutical drugs destined for termination of pregnancy”, introduce a ban on their retail sale and make a list of organizations with the right to buy them wholesale. It would also have banned abortions in private clinics and removed payment for them from state insurance policies, and allowed abortions to be covered by state health care only if the pregnancy threatened the woman’s life. The bill was withdrawn after strong public protest, coordinated by the Russian Association for Population and Development (RAPD).However, that was not the end of the story. The activities of anti-choice groups in the Russian Federation are again emerging. Strategies and tactics have been modified. This time they are using regulations, orders and by-laws, which can be implemented without public discussion or parliamentary debate.First, a by-law was introduced that made it mandatory to do an ultrasound and listen to the heartbeat of the embryo before an abortion can take place. Moreover, the consent form that women must sign before an abortion now contains misleading, unscientific information about risks and consequences of abortion.Their next objective is to introduce additional licensing requirements for abortion services. If this is successful, their intention is to remove abortion services from the State Mandatory Medical Insurance, which will create obvious financial and other barriers for women in accessing abortion care.SOURCE: Astra Bulletin No.6(154) 2016VISUAL: Coalition for Reproductive Choice (Коалиция за репродуктивный выбор “Гроздь рябины”)