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Abortion in Russia: Where It Stands Today

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Abortion in Russia has a complicated history. Russia is the country with the highest numbers of abortions. Abortion was illegal in the Russian Empire, when Tsar Nicholas II was in power, and when he and his family were executed in 1918.

In 1920, the Bolshevik regime legalized abortion, only to have it banned again in the 30s under Stalin’s rule. After Stalin’s death, abortion was once again allowed. Nowadays, abortion is frowned upon and is only allowed up to the 12th week of pregnancy (with the exceptions of certain circumstances).

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Photo Credit: Catholic News Agency

Russia seems not to know where to land on this issue. It continues to dehumanize unborn children by allowing abortion. However, many are outraged at the lack of abortion availability in Russia. Even though it is legal, many clinics have stopped providing abortions. Outrages also comes from the lack of the deadly abortion pills. Reportedly, abortion pill sales in 2022 were up 60%, in the midst of the Ukrainian war. This year, sales have dropped 35%, but they are still higher than pre-2022 levels. Contraceptive sales are also up. Russians do not seem to understand the value of preborn life.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry has placed restrictions on abortion pills (misoprostal and mifepristone), due to take place September 1, 2024. This decree would create more paperwork for the clinics, which ultimately is expected to limit the availability. In addition, such pills would require a presecription.

According to Pyotr Tolstoy, a Russian lawmaker, the aim is to put a ban on private clinics providing abortions. This is due to the fact that private clinics make up about 20% of all abortions in Russia. The Health Ministry is also having gynecologists try to counsel women to give birth, deterring them from the murder of their child.

So, while abortion remains legal in Russia, lawmakers are attempting to protect life. These moves, predictably, are highly controversial. Russia is a nation with a deep and complicated past, and the topic of abortion in Russia is no exception. The war in Ukraine has only exacerbated the already deeply prevalent issue of abortion. This is precisely why HLI has international missions, to respond to the needs of those struggling or in unsafe conditions. We have compassion for women and seek to give them the resources they need to take care of themselves, their loved ones, and their children.

Our Lady of Fatima told the children that, if Russia was not consecrated to her Immaculate Heart, its errors would spread throughout the world. For decades, Russia was not consecrated, and many speculate that the errors referenced were communism, abortion, and secularization. Pope St. John Paul II finally consecrated Russia to the Immaculate Heart in 1984.

Fr. Francesco Giordano, Director of HLI’s Rome Office, Prays at Fatima

Let us continue to pray for the conversion of Russia in our daily Rosaries, offering it to Mary’s Immaculate Heart.

“In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph!” – Our Lady of Fatima

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