Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Rus’, in a letter to State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin sent on November 8, asked to consider the issue of banning abortions in private clinics. This was reported by the BBC Russian Service with reference to a copy of the letter and a source. According to the publication, the State Duma Committee on Health Protection has been instructed to consider this proposal.
According to the BBC, in the letter, Patriarch Kirill claims that private clinics “often” do not comply with the requirements of the Ministry of Health regarding “anti-abortion restrictions,” which could “negate the state’s actions to increase the birth rate.”
The Patriarch indicated that “many members of the medical community” supported the introduction of a ban on private clinics performing abortions. “This is consistent with the position of the majority of our citizens, who are aware of the need to take additional measures to reduce abortions,” the letter says.
“Preservation of the people,” according to Patriarch Kirill, is a matter of national security. In this regard, as the BBC notes, he asked Vyacheslav Volodin, “taking into account the special importance of the issue” that “goes beyond healthcare,” to entrust the development of a bill to the State Duma Committee on Security and Anti-Corruption.
According to a BBC source, Vyacheslav Volodin instructed the health committee to consider the initiative the day after receiving the letter, on November 9. The committee sent out a questionnaire and the letter from Patriarch Kirill to associations of private clinics. Doctors must send their answers to the State Duma by November 17.
On November 12, Patriarch Kirill, at the opening of the church-wide congress, citing the example of Mordovia, proposed introducing a ban on inducing abortions in all regions of Russia. A similar measure was introduced in the Tver region in November. The initiative is also being considered in the Tambov region.
According to the Ministry of Health, in 2022, 395 thousand abortions were performed in Russia. According to Rosstat statistics (including procedures carried out in medical departments at factories), the number of abortions last year amounted to 506 thousand. At the same time, private clinics accounted for a fifth of the procedures (102 thousand). 401 thousand abortions were performed in state clinics. In 2023, the number of regions in Russia is growing where private clinics themselves refuse to perform abortions.
More details about the situation can be found in the Kommersant article “Not everyone wants an abortion.”