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On Abortion

Dedicated to George.

Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, head of the Synodal Department for Church and Public Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church, has called for effective measures against abortion and in support of mothers and their children in Russia. ‘We should consider measures aimed at eliminating government involvement in promoting and performing abortions and we should not spend taxpayers’ money on this sort of thing’, he said in reply to letters sent to Patriarch Kyrill concerning the abortion issue. In his view, medical institutions should not encourage abortion and all healthcare personnel, especially doctors, ‘should have the right to refuse to take part in induced abortions. Doctors and nurses who are government employees should not encourage mothers to have an abortion, especially for age, social or financial reasons. In cases where there may be a threat to the life or health of the woman, this threat must be proved and checked by the expert medical opinions of several physicians’.

Fr Vsevolod believes that we must speak about the truth about abortion ‘using the mass media, cultural events, the public services, teachers, psychologists, clergymen and women who have had abortions and regret killing their unborn babies. Certainly, we should denounce those who voluntarily deny children the right to life, but we must remember that women often resort to abortion through sheer necessity. This means that the government and society should take effective measures to care for mothers and children, including provisions for financial aid’.

He noted that in Russia and other CIS countries, ‘There are millions of abortions, including those carried out with non-surgical methods, whose aim is to kill the foetus in the womb. The origins of this horrific situation lie in our recent past. Abortion was first legalised in post-revolutionary Russia. This measure was presented as a triumph for freedom, as it allegedly allowed women to choose to follow a career (rather than be mothers); in fact, it deprived them of their right to a normal family and the God-given joy of motherhood’. He went on to say that because of ‘this vicious practice of infanticide, our population has suffered huge losses. The numbers of unborn children that have been victims of abortion are much greater than the numbers of soldiers killed in all the wars of the twentieth century. We will not be able to talk about a national revival until we have changed society’s attitude to abortion’.

17/30 December 2010

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