When Was Abortion Legalized in Russia
Anna Kuznetsova, Putin`s ombudsman for children`s rights, opposes abortion. Married to an Orthodox priest and mother of six, she said the wombs “commemorate the death” of aborted fetuses. But Putin was much more cautious. This reasonable and progressive regulation of abortion was largely due to Alexandra Kollontai, a famous Russian revolutionary, feminist and the first woman in world history to hold a ministerial post (Kollontai was People`s Commissar for State Charity in the first Bolshevik government in 1917-18). In 1715, Peter the Great ordered the death penalty (on a broken wheel) for infanticide in his military status – but he did not specify anything about abortion, so abortions and forced miscarriages were officially in the “gray area” of Russian law for a long time, until the 19th century. There is certainly pressure on President Vladimir Putin to push through a traditionally conservative agenda and restrict access to abortion, but Putin has so far avoided introducing restrictions that would likely be very unpopular among the population. Indeed, Ruth Bader Ginsburg has always defended women`s rights, including abortion, throughout her career. Since 1993, she had done so as a judge on the highest court in the United States. At a Senate hearing on her Supreme Court candidacy, Ginsburg said, “Deciding whether or not to bear a child is essential to a woman`s life, well-being and dignity.
If the government controls this decision for her, she will be treated as a less adult human being responsible for her own decisions. Equally well-known is their dissenting opinion in Gonzalez v. 2007. Carhart case – a landmark Supreme Court decision that found the 2003 law banning the so-called “partial birth” procedure constitutional: “[T]he systematic challenges to unreasonable restrictions on abortion procedures do not attempt to justify a generalized notion of privacy; Instead, they focus on a woman`s autonomy to determine her resume and thus enjoy equal citizenship. In the 1970s, according to official statistics from the Soviet Ministry of Health, the USSR recorded an average of 7 to 8 million abortions per year, wiping out entire generations of Russian children. Only recently, under Vladimir Putin, who faced a projected population decline from 140 million Russians in 2000 to 104 million by 2050 (according to World Health Organization forecasts), has Russia restricted abortion and created measures to promote fertility. Joseph Stalin had an estimate. In fact, he was actually worried about the growing number. In 1936, the death toll was so staggering that a horrified Stalin, not exactly a great philanthropist, tried to seize it.
He banned abortion that year. He seriously believed that there could be no future Russia if this madness continued. As is often the case when a particular defect is legalized, society has seen more – and even more. The number of abortions has exploded. Remarkably, in 1934, Moscow women had three abortions for every live birth — shocking conditions that American women in the worst battles of Roe v. Wade never approached. In the early Roaring Twenties of the 21st century, the abortion problem suddenly made waves on both sides of the Atlantic. In Russia, His Holiness Holiness last year called abortion a sinful practice in cases where abnormalities in fetal development are detected. Then the patriarch`s attitude softened somewhat, and he suggested that if there are medical reasons to terminate the pregnancy, a woman should be freed from sin, especially if she has other children. But by then, Russian lawmakers had picked up the tone.
According to the Digest of Criminal Laws of 1832, aiding and abetting abortion was punishable by flogging and time spent in labor camps for midwives – but not for women who had had abortions. This standard was only active for a short time. In 1845, midwives who performed abortions without the woman`s consent or knowledge could be punished with four to six years of hard labor (and up to 10 years if the woman was injured or died in the process). Abortion with a woman`s consent is punishable by exile in Siberia (the same applies to women who perform abortions on themselves). It is important to note that if a person performing an abortion had medical training, the punishment was more severe. The murder of a newborn baby was considered murder and punishable by life imprisonment for forced labour. I had no idea it was so bad in Russia. How terrible. A quick note – Margaret Sanger was indeed appalled by abortion in Russia. She was not at all against abortion per se, but she thought it was an unpleasant surgery (which it is) with some danger to the mother, and therefore birth control and sterilization were better. She believed that most people should be sterilized, if necessary, inevitably.
It was nothing if it was not practical. From a practical point of view, of course, this is a simpler and less unpleasant “solution”. One is hard to imagine what the decline in births would have been if Sanger`s plans had been followed, but when she postulated that up to 70 percent of the U.S. population was unable to reproduce and that the rest should have virtually no children. Well, do that calculation. In today`s Russian Federation, abortion has always been legal. Abortion was covered by health insurance at the expense of the State budget, and every woman had the right to resolve the issue of maternity. In 1999, there were about 2 million abortions a year, and in 2017, there were 627,000. The attitude of Russian society towards Kollontai is very ambiguous, and his name is mainly associated with his essay “Make room for winged Eros!” – a hymn to “sexual communism”. But Kollontai paved the way not only for “winged Eros,” but also for progressive legal regulation. Through his efforts, early Bolshevik legislation saw norms that improved the legal status of women, equated illegitimate children in their rights with children born in wedlock, simplified the procedure for marriage and divorce, provided for the determination of paternity in court, and legalized abortion.
Unfortunately, most of these innovations were later abolished. In 1936, abortion was banned in the USSR by a joint resolution of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR. The History of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks): Short Course), a Soviet textbook, noted with satisfaction that “in 1936, in connection with the growing prosperity of the masses, the government passed a law banning abortion.” On June 27, 1936, the Central Executive Committee of the Soviet Union declared abortion illegal again, largely due to concerns about population growth as well as the medical dangers of abortion.  The law prohibiting abortion not only did this, but contained several different decrees.