The abortion debate has heated up again in Russia this week, following a decision by the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, to sign a petition supporting a complete ban on the procedure. While the Russian Orthodox Church later explained that the endorsement was meant only to bring public attention to the issue, the nation’s conservative politicians are already weighing in on the subject.
Senator Yelena Mizulina, perhaps Russia’s most vocal “moral legislator,” told journalists Wednesday that abortions were responsible for “raising the level of aggression in society.”
“Just according to official statistics,” Mizulina said, “there are up to 1 million abortions performed in Russia [annually], and experts say it’s actually far more. But this can’t be solved simply by going and prohibiting [the procedure].”
While she opposes a ban on abortion, Mizulina says Russian society has an unhealthy understanding of the procedure. She accuses the country of seeing abortion as a “normal, ordinary medical operation — but it isn’t.”
“In fact, both the woman who decides to have an abortion and the loved ones who support her then experience a lifelong sense of guilt, and it’s precisely this feeling that leads to the growth of aggression in society,” Mizulina explained, adding that she believes abortion should not be covered by compulsory health insurance programs.