The debate on abortions is often thought of as a contrast between religion and science. However, this contrast is not two-dimensional. Specific to Russia, the debate on abortion is longstanding and complex. In order to understand the abortion debate, it is important to first explore the history of abortion, starting with the Soviet Union and ending with modern day Russia. Russia was the first country to legalize abortion in 1917, but recently has been a leading country in tightening abortion laws in Eastern Europe. An examination of the history of the abortion debate in Russia also requires an investigation into the main actors involved: the Russian Government including Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Duma, the Russian Orthodox Church, World Congress of Families, non-governmental organizations, pro-choice activists, and St. Petersburg women’s clinics. This investigation will not only help to explain the gap between perspectives and arguments for or against regulating abortion, but it will also help to explain how abortion is perceived within aspects of Russian culture. Thus, discussing this gap will illuminate the ‘unattainable compromise’ that exists between the anti-choice movement and the pro-choice movement. As Russia continues to influence its surrounding countries in Eastern Europe, explaining and understanding this ‘unattainable compromise’ is a key component to understanding the abortion debate in Russia.
Leena Kaye, ’17