Despite efforts of the Russian government, the demand for abortion pills reaches a peak

08-08-2023

Eastern Europe

Lennart Nijenhuis, CNE.news

Abortion pills that can be used to terminate a pregnancy. In Russia, the drugs are popular. Photo AFP, Jim Watson

Never before have so many abortion pills been requested in Russia as in 2022. The rising demand comes at the same time as announcements from the government to increase control over abortion.

In total, 1.4 million abortion-inducing drugs were sold, data from the RNC Pharma consultancy shows. In addition, 2.2 million emergency contraception pills went over the counter, Kommersant reports. The new numbers show an increase of 60 per cent and 53 per cent, respectively, compared to a year earlier.

According to RNC Pharma's development director Nikolai Bespalov, the rising numbers are the result of the "special military operation" in Ukraine, "Western sanctions" that caused people's incomes to fall, and the "partial mobilisation" of Russian men.

However, as the war drags on, people get used to the situation, Bespalov notices. "As a result, the demand for termination of pregnancy has become lower compared to the indicators of the beginning of last year", he tells Kommersant.

Sanctions

Russian sociologist Aleksey Firsov points out that an uncertain future can cause people to feel "uncomfortable having children." However, he emphasises that other factors could also play a role, for example, "the desire of clinics to stock up in the face of sanctions." According to Firsov, many abortion pills are also bought by medical institutions, which may be scared of new rules and regulations, as the Russian government wants to reduce the number of abortions.

Yelizaveta Lvova, a volunteer of the women's network "You are not Alone", who is also a family doctor, also believes that the upsurge in sales is linked to the political climate that wants to tighten abortion laws and the "unstable economic situation and the state of armed conflict."

Decline

Nevertheless, the official statistics of the Ministry of Health show a decline in all types of abortion, Moscow Times writes.

In the meantime, the State Assembly of Mordovia has passed a regional ban on propaganda for artificial termination of pregnancy. That was reported by Interfax. A statement of the regional authorities reads that "inducement to artificial termination of pregnancy means forcing a pregnant woman to do this by persuasion, bribery, deceit, or making other demands." An exception to the rule is informing a pregnant woman about the possibility of abortion. Anyone violating the ban risks a fine of at least 5,000 rubles (50 euros).

At the same time, it is remarkable that the Russian birthrate has been reduced to a historic low under the rule of President Putin. And even more remarkable is that the Kremlin would rather keep this silent, as CNE reported earlier.

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