The recent surveys on abortion conducted by the Russian
"Levada Center" for sociological research have recorded a larger percentage
of women who do not procure abortions because of moral issues connected to
Strangely, the researchers at the centre did not pay any special attention
to the statistics showing that since 1998, the "moral" argument has become
more popular among those opposed to abortion, growing from 25% to 35%.
The belief that abortion is a sin against God is very widespread, especially
among older people. In fact, 51% of the population sample above the age of
55 said they believed that the voluntary interruption of pregnancy is a very
grave sin, but the percentage of younger people who share the same belief is
also significant: 27% of those 18-27, 30% of those 25-39, and 40% of those
Nevertheless, the demographic situation in Russia continues to show alarming
developments, although the information elaborated by the research center
demonstrates that the number of involuntary interruptions of pregnancy
practised over the last 10 years has remained the same overall.
According to the statistics gathered, Russian public opinion is divided
between those opposed to abortion and those in favour. The criteria used in
the research are based on age of the interviewees, their level of
secularisation, and their perception of health risks.
The abortion rate is generally higher in the large urban centres. Women
with a high level of education - who constitute just a small fraction of the
big city population - show a particular tendency to plan out their lives, to
be more attentive and responsible, and for this reason the number of
voluntary interruptions of pregnancy among them is low. There has been a
decline in support for a law that would prohibit abortion (from 21% in 1998
to 16% 2008), while the percentage of those in favour of the interruption of
pregnancy has remained unchanged, at 70%. But there has been an increase in
the number of people who think it is just to prohibit abortion (8% in 1998;
15% in 2007) or to permit it only in cases of serious medical problems (20%
in 2007; 13% in 1998).
The greatest concern among people who want to prohibit abortion concerns the
health of women, both psychological and physical. For many, in fact, the
fear that after an interruption of pregnancy a woman might be unable to have
more children and could suffer psycho-physical imbalances are the most
frightening potential effects.
Finally, concerning premarital relations, among 65% of the Russian citizens
interviewed AIDS is seen as the most serious risk in having sexual relations
before marriage, while for the rest of the population the consequences can
bring weaker nuclear families, sterility for women, a high number of
abandoned children, and difficulties in the workplace.