The head of Russia’s Orthodox church has compared unchecked termination of pregnancy to a “national disaster”
Abortion is a genuine threat to society, Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, said on Tuesday.
“It is – without exaggeration – a real national disaster, which is destroying the future of our society, destroying our perception of the value of human life,” Kirill said while addressing a large gathering of officials, politicians and activists in Moscow.
The church leader added that the issue of abortion should be handled not only through “legal bans,” but also through “raising awareness in schools, fostering in children respect for human life, love for their parents, for their country, for our moral values and ideals.”
Women in Russia have relatively unrestricted access to abortion. At the same time, 47% of Russians say that the government must enact measures to “prevent abortions,” while 39% oppose state regulation, according to a recent poll by WCIOM.
A country of 146 million, Russia has seen a drastic decline in the number of terminated pregnancies over the course of the last two decades, with 506,000 abortions performed in 2022.
Nevertheless, politicians and the church have been discussing measures to encourage women to keep their pregnancies and have more children, citing the need to boost population. President Vladimir Putin, who called the number of abortions an “acute” problem, has designated 2024 as ‘The Year of the Family’, focusing on programs aimed at helping families and promoting “traditional family values.”
In August, Russia’s region of Mordovia adopted a landmark law banning “propaganda” of abortions.