Russia: Church and State Sign Agreement to Protect Maternal-Child Health / Legislation to Restrict Abortion Access

The Ministry of Health in Russia has signed an agreement with the Russian Orthodox Church that includes prevention of abortion and provision of palliative care. The agreement signed by Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova and Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, website was published on the of the Synodal Department for ROC Church Charity and Social Service. Article 9 of the 21 article agreement establishes cooperation “on the protection of maternal and child health, including reproductive health, promotion of family values and prevention of abortion.” The agreement includes joint actions with medical institutions for the “creation of crisis pregnancy centers at hospitals with the participation of psychologists and representatives of religious organizations of the Russian Orthodox Church”; “the participation of representatives of religious organizations of the Russian Orthodox Church in advising women who are planning to terminate the pregnancy, in medical institutions” ; and for the provision of space for “posting information of religious organizations of the Russian Orthodox Church on the stands in medical institutions.” Additionally, the two parties will also undertake “joint efforts to provide assistance and support to pregnant women whose prenatal diagnosis indicate to the malformation of the fetus, as well as mothers who give birth to a child with developmental disabilities.” Under Article 5, the Orthodox Church will cooperate with the Health Ministry in the preparation of health professionals by providing formative instruction on the spiritual foundations of medical activities and by facilitating the interaction of medical organizations with organizations of the Russian Orthodox Church. [19 June 2015, http://healthcenteronlines.blogspot.com/2015/06/the-ministry-of-health-has-signed.html ; 13 July 2015, http://www.pncius.org/ ] Legislation Proposed to Restrict Access to Abortion...