Russian Orthodox want tougher abortion law, ties with “pro-life” West

By Reuters Staff
June 2, 2010
red square

Moscow's Red Square -- soon the site of an anti-abortion march? (Itar-Tass photo 9 May 2005)

The Russian Orthodox Church has called for tougher rules to reduce the number of abortions carried out in a country struggling to combat its fast-dwindling population.  Russia registered 1.2 million abortions and 1.7 million births last year, according to the Health Ministry.

“In Soviet times we got used to abortion and we got used to considering it an unavoidable part of our legal reality and that there is no way to the turn back the page,” Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, a powerful cleric who is close to Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency.  “But we see today that it is possible to turn back a great deal,” said Chaplin,  He  said the legislation had to change but declined to say how.

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Chaplin also told deputies from Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party they should  work with conservative politicians in western countries to oppose abortion.  “Before, there was little dialogue with the right-wing Christian Protestant elite due to (their) hackneyed anti-Communism,” he said. “Today, we need overcome that.”

An Interfax report added: “According to him, the anti-abortion movement is a good opportunity to expand communication. In particular, there is an idea to hold a global Pro-Life congress in Moscow.”

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