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Russian Parliament Drafts Bill to Cut Abortions, Citing Underpopulation

Abortion has become such a pervasive form of birth control in Russia that the nation is seeing worker and population shortages that are already beginning to take an economic toll. The nation’s parliament is now considering legislation to address the problem.

Lawmakers in the lower house of parliament are working on legislation that they hope will cut the more than one million officially counted abortions taking place annually in the nation.

Under the bill, abortion would no longer be qualified as a medical service under the nation’s government-run health system, thus allowing physicians to opt out of doing them.

The measure would also increase the monthly payments to pregnant women from the current 2,000 rubles ($70) a month until birth. The legislation could also make it illegal to do abortions in the second half of pregnancy.

In related news, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin pledged last week to raise the nation’s birthrate by up to 30% in just three years. Due to a rapidly falling fertility, Russia has experienced a dramatic population decline, going from 148.5 million people in 1995 to 143 million today despite efforts by various governments to boost the birth rate.

Mr. Putin’s plan calls for spending the equivalent of 33 billion pounds to encourage Russian families to have more children.

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