The future of abortions in Russia

Victoria I. Sakevich, Institute of Demography SU-HSE
Boris P. Denisov, Moscow State University

Family planning and birth control are a long time mass population practice all over Russia. However, little is known about the means of the family planning and birth control. Despite of positive shifts in these practices in the last two decades Russia remains keeping one of the first places in the world in the prevalence of abortions. Births/abortions ratio differs greatly from a similar ratio in the more advanced countries, and number of abortions exceeds number of births. Special national representative surveys of contraceptive behavior of the Russians were not carried out. The routine official statistics provides only scares data on the number of women using two kinds of contraception only (intrauterine devices and hormonal pills), and doing so under supervision of a doctor. These data are definitely incomplete. The Generations and Gender Survey (GGS) carried out in Russia in 2004 partly fills the gap. GGS results are a challenge to Russian society. On the one hand, the observed level of prevalence of methods of contraception is very high, especially for young generations and among persons with high educational level. General attitude towards abortion is negative. Optimization of structure of used methods of contraception could result in reduction of the number of abortions. On the other hand, 45% of respondents have agreed with the opinion, that abortions without medical indications should be strongly limited or forbidden legislatively. Antiabortion propaganda is rather fruitful. In public consciousness the practice of abortions being a result of both individual and family choices (on one hand) and the legislative right on abortion (on the other) are not so precisely divided.

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Presented in Session 26: Contraception and Induced Abortion in Europe