Russian Orthodox Patriarch calls for reducing abortions

religion | Jan 24, 2011 | By Martin Barillas

Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia sent to state authorities his suggestions on national policies regarding family, childhood, and abortion. As to opposing abortions, the Patriarch urged to accept departmental instruction of the Ministry of Health and Social Development "that makes preservation of pregnancy a priority task for the doctor and bans medical initiatives on its interruption," according to the official website of the Moscow Patriarchate.

The Primate urged to introduce in medical practice a compulsory two-week period of waiting after "informed consent" - a document that woman signs before an abortion as this period exists in developed countries.

Patriarch Kirill also spoke for establishing a network of orphanages, and crisis pregnancy centers staffed by psychologists and representatives of 'traditional religions' to be located at maternity hospitals. Russia currently has one of the highest rates of abortion in the world, despite its millenial history of Christianity. 

The Patriarch suggested that abortion (except cases of direct threat to mother's life) should not be covered by the state medical insurance, thereby preventing the use of taxpayer funds for pregnancy termination. The religious leader also called upon schools to explain the process of gestation and to state support for a media campaign condemning abortions while promoting maternity.

Patriarch Kirill believes it necessary to set up legal safeguards to ensure that families can independently settle private issues and to guarantee parents' rights to bring up their children according to their own beliefs while safeguarding them from danger and immorality. The Patriarch urged to strictly control the state's power to remove children from their families. 

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