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Lawmakers Seek to Ban Free Abortions

Deputies from the Samara region legislature have submitted a bill to the State Duma's Public Health committee seeking to ban free abortions, excluding ones necessary due to health problems.

The sponsors of the bill justified it by saying most Russians condemned abortions.

"This attitude is motivated by society's moral principles and the teachings of most traditional religions that Russian citizens adhere to," they said, Interfax reported. "Moreover, from the standpoint of Christianity, Islam and Judaism, artificial abortions are the gravest sin of infanticide."

The move comes at a time of increasingly conservative social policy by the Kremlin, with the authorities earlier this year passing laws banning the promotion of homosexuality among children and making it illegal to insult believers' religious feelings.

The bill's authors also argued that free abortions may insult the beliefs of insurance company employees that are indirectly involved in their implementation.

In 1920, the Soviet Union became the first country in the world to legalize abortions, but they were again prohibited in 1936 after Josef Stalin's policies became more conservative. The ban was lifted amid Nikita Khrushchev's thaw in 1955.

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