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Russia: New Abortion Restrictions

(Dec. 2, 2007) On October 29, 2007, the Russian Federation Health Care and Social Development Ministry issued an executive regulation that establishes a new procedure for providing abortion services. According to the new rules, while abortion remains covered by state health programs, each woman who is planning to undergo this procedure during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy in a state or municipal hospital will submit a signed declaration of intent to the hospital's social worker acknowledging the possible negative health consequences. The position of social worker is to be instituted in all hospitals providing abortion services, with the main duty of the position being to discourage women from having abortions. The regulation prohibits private medical clinics from providing abortions. Also, the number of medical or social situations for which termination of a late-term pregnancy is permitted has been decreased by 92 possible situations. The regulation states that newly discovered methods of medical treatment allow women to preserve a fetus that is at risk and to have a healthy child where previously that was not possible. Abortions are allowed in only two social situations, when the pregnancy is a result of a rape and when the child was fathered by a close relative. On October 22, 2007, a bill on complete prohibition of abortions other than for medical reasons was introduced in the State Duma (legislature) of the Russian Federation. (Private Clinics Will Be Prohibited from Performing Abortions, NEWSRU.COM INFORMATION AGENCY, Oct. 30, 2007)