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Russian Health Minister Slams Pursuing a Career Before Childbirth as 'Improper Practice' for Women

Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko

Russia's health minister has criticized the trend of women prioritizing their education and careers over having children, labeling it an “improper practice.”

Addressing a plenary session of the State Duma on Tuesday, Mikhail Murashko lamented the prevalent mindset in society that a woman should first pursue education, build a career, and secure her financial status before considering starting a family.

“Many problems arise as a result: infertility, miscarriage, IVF. Reduced time for the birth of the third or fourth child,” Murashko said. “The situation should be reviewed.”

Murashko announced a Health Ministry initiative to control the circulation of abortion-inducing drugs in pharmacies. He noted that although the number of abortions has already decreased significantly, it could be reduced even further. The focus is on medication-induced abortions, not on contraceptives.

He said that abortion-inducing drugs should be strictly controlled in medical and pharmaceutical organizations, similar to controls on psychotropic medications, potent drugs and toxic substances.

The Health Ministry will insist on the adoption of this initiative by the end of the year, Murashko said.

Medication-induced abortion is considered the safest method of terminating a pregnancy. It is performed using a group of drugs called antigestagens, which are administered only under medical supervision in healthcare facilities.

According to the Health Ministry, the number of abortions decreased by 3.9% (16,213 cases) from 2021 to 2022, from 411,000 in 2021 to 395,000 in 2022.

Russian officials have sought to encourage Russians to have more children and stepped up their rhetoric against abortion in recent months, as the country seeks to halt a demographic crisis exacerbated by the mass exodus of citizens abroad and the war in Ukraine.

Despite several measures aimed at incentivizing childbirth, the country's birth rate remains below its death rate.

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