- (Photo: Reuters/Alexi Nikolskyi/RIA Novosti/Kremlin
Russia's president Vladimir Putin signed into law on Monday a ban on abortion advertisements in the country. The ban was signed as part of a set of laws that seek to tighten the country's advertising restrictions regarding contraception and medicine.
Russian media reported Monday that the purpose of the new legislation is to stem the country's declining population rate. The ban on abortion advertisements was signed as part of the country's Federal Law on Advertising that also bans advertisements for free drug samples if the drugs contain narcotics or psychotropic samples. The law also puts restrictions on advertisements for traditional "folk medicine" in the country, making the illegal practice of folk medicine a misdemeanor.
According to Reuters, Russia's abortion rates are among the highest in the world and termination is one of the most common practices of birth control in the country. Since taking office 14 years ago, Vladimir Putin has made boosting the country's population rate one of his fundamental priorities.
Steven Mosher, President of the Population Research Institute, has said in a previous interview with LifeSite News that Russia must change its attitude towards abortion if it wants a continued healthy generation.
"As long as society fails to recognize the value of human life, and wantonly destroys it in large numbers, it will be difficult to establish a new three-child norm. Abortion must cease being a way of life in Russia if her people are to survive," Mosher said in 2012.
Putin has previously called for families to have three or more children.
Others argue that Russia's recent ban on abortion advertising is a violation of women's rights. Women's rights activist Olgerta Kharitonova told Reuters that the recently-passed law "is not the beginning of the restriction of women's [reproductive] rights, but rather the continuation of a process begun in 2011."
In 2011, Russia passed a law banning abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy and establishing a waiting period of at least 48 hours before a woman may go through with an abortion.
In addition to this abortion legislation, Russia has also recently come under fire for passing a law earlier this year that bans "homosexuality propaganda targeting minors." Openly gay athletes competing in the upcoming winter Olympic games in Sochi were concerned that the new ban could mean discrimination against them during their visit to Russia, but the International Olympic Committee later released a statement saying it was "fully satisfied" with Russia's promise that it will not enforce the law during the winter games.