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International Initiative Calls on Russian Parliament to Reject Anti- Choice Measures

(PRESS RELEASE) In response to a growing anti-choice movement in Russia that strongly resembles the so-called “pro-life” movement in the U.S., 150 women’s rights, reproductive health and human rights organizations and activists from around the world have joined forces, demanding that the Russian Parliament defeat newly proposed measures that will dramatically change current abortion law and limit women’s access to abortion services in the country. 
 
“It is critical that lawmakers stand up to this unprecedented assault on women’s reproductive health in Russia,” said Johanna Westeson, regional director for Europe at the Center for Reproductive Rights, a global legal advocacy organization based in New York. “We know firsthand in the U.S. that these kinds of measures don’t serve any medical purpose, that they severely undermine women’s health and fundamental rights, and ultimately are only a stepping stone to making abortion services virtually unavailable for significant numbers of women.”
 
The proposed amendments include required pre-abortion biased counseling with “psychological consultations;” viewing of an ultrasound and listening to the fetal heartbeat; waiting period; parental/guardian consent for young women under 18; and spousal consent for married women prior to abortion. The amendments would also permit healthcare providers to refuse a patient an abortion on the grounds of conscience, without any safeguards including an oversight mechanism to ensure women’s access to legal abortion services.
 
The amendments were introduced in the context of concern about declining birth rates in Russia and the misconception that restricting access to abortion would reverse this decline.
 
“Restricting women’s access to abortion neither reduces the rate of abortion or increases birth rates,” said Dr. Lyubov Erofeeva the Director General of Russian Association for Population and Development (RAPD). “Instead, these restrictions demean women, misinform them about their medical care, make abortion services less safe, and in some instances, drive women to undergo illegal and unsafe abortion.”
 
 A recent survey organized by RAPD suggests that the proposed changes are not supported by Russian women, who understand that such changes would infringe on their fundamental rights.
 
Under current Russian law, women can obtain an abortion on request up until twelve weeks of pregnancy. Between twelve and twenty-two weeks, an abortion can be provided for medical or “social” reasons laid out by the government. The lower house of the Russian Parliament is expected to discuss these amendments this Friday.
 
The Russian Association for Population and Development (RAPD) and the Center for Reproductive Rights, supported by a wide number of organizations and individuals in an international appeal, argue that the measures would have huge human rights implications in violation of the Russian Constitution and Russia’s international human rights obligations, including violations to women’s rights to privacy, physical integrity and autonomy, confidentiality, health and to be free from discrimination.
 
The appeal was supported by the following organizations and individuals:
 
 Institutions:
-    Catholics for Choice
-    Human Rights Watch
-    Ipas
-    Women's Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR)
-    ASTRA Central and Eastern European Women's Network for Sexual and Reproductive Rights
-    YouAct - European Youth Network on Sexual and Reproductive Rights
-    International Planned Parenthood Federation – European Network
-    Planned Parenthood Federation of America – International
-    Latin American and Caribbean Women's Health Network (LACWHN)
-    LUNA: Federation of dutch-speaking abortion centers in Belgium (Belgium)
-    SENSOA (Belgium)
-    Católicas por el Derecho a Decidir (Bolivia)
-    Community Human Rights and Advocacy Centre (CHRAC) (Cameroon)
-    Centro de Estudios de la Mujer – CEM (Chile)
-    Colectivo Feministas Tramando (Chile)
-    Corporación de Desarrollo de la Mujer la Morada (Chile)
-    Católicas por el Derecho a Decidir (Colombia)
-    Centro de Estudios e Investigaciones Sociales Afrocolombianas, CEISAFROCOL (Colombia)
-    Fundación ESAR (Colombia)
-    Colectiva Mujer y Salud (Dominican Republic)
-    Institutode la Mujer (El Salvador)
-    Fundación Desafío (Ecuador)
-    Väestöliitto – Family Federation of Finland (Finland)
-    French Family Planning Movement (France)
-    Latvia's Association for Family Planning and Sexual Health (Latvia)
-    Irish Family Planning Association (Ireland)
-    AIDOS, Italian Association for Women in Development (Italy)
-    Reproductive Rights Alliance (Malaysia)
-    Grupo de Información en Reproducción Elegida, A.C (Mexico)
-    El Closet de Sor Juana (Mexico)
-    Fundacion Arcoiris por el respeto a la diversidad sexual (Mexico)
-    Equidad de Género, Ciudadanía, Trabajo y Familia (Mexico)
-    Foro de Mujeres y Politicas de Población (Mexico)
-    Ddeser - Red por los derechos sexuales y reproductivos (Mexico)
-    Elige, Red de Jóvenes por los Derechos Sexuales y Reproductivos A.C. (Mexico)
-    Youth Action Nepal (Nepal)
-    Rutgers WPF (Netherlands)
-    Women on Web (Netherlands)
-    Family Planning New Zealand (New Zealand)
-    SI Mujer Nicaragua, Servicios Integrales para la Mujer (Nicaragua)
-    Generation Initiative For Women and Youth Network (Nigeria)
-    Moms Club International (Nigeria)
-    Youth Dignity International (Nigeria)
-    Campaign Against Unwanted Pregnancy (Nigeria)
-    Norwegian Association for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (Norway)
-    Fokus, Forum for Women and Development (Norway)
-    Peace Foundation (Pakistan)
-    Shirkat Gah - Women’s Resource Center (Pakistan)
-    DEMUS-Estudio para la Defensa de los Derechos de la Mujer (Peru)
-    Federation for Women and Family Planning (Poland)
-    RFSU, Swedish Association for Sexual Education (Sweden)
-    Frauenambulatorium Zürich (Switzerland)
-    Kigoma Vijana Development Association (KIVIDEA) (Tanzania)
-    Women's Promotion Centre, (Tanzania)
-    The Women's Health Advocacy Foundation (Thailand)
-    Network for Choices of Women with Unplanned Pregnancy (Thailand)
-    MYSU, Women and health in Uruguay (Uruguay)
 
Individuals:
-    Maria Helena Souza da Silva (Brazil)
-    Maria Eunice Xavier Kalil (Brazil)
-    Carina Blomqvist (Chile)
-    Lilian Marino Blomqvist (Chile)
-    Reyner Quiroz (Chile)
-    Beatriz Sotomayor (Chile)
-    Varinia Barría León (Chile)
-    Olga Grau (Chile)
-    Nora Vanegas (El Salvador)
-    Angélica Rivas  (El Salvador)
-    Smita Elena Sharma (Malaysia)
-    Vanesa González-Rizzo Krasniansky (Mexico)
-    Teresita De Barbieri (Mexico)
-    Guadalupe Mainero del Paso (Mexico)
-    Anjana Luitel (Nepal)
-    Evert Ketting PhD (Netherlands)
-    Cecilia Olea Mauleón (Peru)
-    Carla Jiménez Peña (Peru)
-    Anne-Marie Rey (Switzerland)
-    Giovanni Bass, MD (Switzerland)
-    Nahoe Curtet Muller (Switzerland)
-    NONDO E. EJANO (Tanzania)
-    Martha Jerome (Tanzania)
-    Paschal Hamenya (Tanzania)
-    Baby Paschal (Tanzania)
-    Festo Nemes (Tanzania)
-    Prisca Msonsa (Tanzania)
-    Flora Andrew (Tanzania)
-    Jenitha Ruhasha (Tanzania)
-    Mwaka Alimasi (Tanzania)
-    Suchada Thaweesit, IPSR, Mahidol University (Thailand)
-    Kritaya Archavanitkul, IPSR, Mahidol University (Thailand)
-    Julie Bentley (United Kingdom)
-    Gwendolyn Albert (USA)
-    María José Parra N.
-    Ivonne Vergara García
-    Myriam Jara Hinojosa