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Written declaration No. 594 | Doc. 13834 | 24 June 2015

Women's right to access appropriate reproductive health services in the Russian Federation

Signatories: Ms Petra De SUTTER, Belgium, SOC ; Ms Doris BARNETT, Germany, SOC ; Ms Gülsün BİLGEHAN, Turkey, SOC ; Mr Piet De BRUYN, Belgium, NR ; Ms Lise CHRISTOFFERSEN, Norway, SOC ; Ms Ute FINCKH-KRÄMER, Germany, SOC ; Ms Gabriela HEINRICH, Germany, SOC ; Ms Manana KOBAKHIDZE, Georgia, SOC ; Ms Valentina LESKAJ, Albania, SOC ; Ms Guguli MAGRADZE, Georgia, SOC ; Mr Philippe MAHOUX, Belgium, SOC ; Ms Olivia MITCHELL, Ireland, EPP/CD ; Ms Melita MULIĆ, Croatia, SOC ; Ms Carina OHLSSON, Sweden, SOC ; Ms Mechthild RAWERT, Germany, SOC ; Mr Frithjof SCHMIDT, Germany, SOC ; Mr Frank SCHWABE, Germany, SOC ; Ms Maria Edera SPADONI, Italy, NR ; Ms Tineke STRIK, Netherlands, SOC ; Ms Chiora TAKTAKISHVILI, Georgia, ALDE ; Ms Birutė VĖSAITĖ, Lithuania, SOC ; Mr Klaas de VRIES, Netherlands, SOC ; Ms Nataša VUČKOVIĆ, Serbia, SOC ; Ms Gisela WURM, Austria, SOC

This written declaration commits only those who have signed it.

We the undersigned members of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly are strongly concerned about the three draft laws submitted to the State Duma of the Russian Federation aiming to severely restrict access of women to abortion. They aim:

  • to require women to visualise and listen to the heartbeats of the foetus before being given permission to access a legal abortion;
  • exclude coverage of abortion from the Obligatory Medical Insurance;
  • to prohibit the sale of safe medication that terminate pregnancies.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has clearly stated that “ultrasound scanning is not routinely required for abortion”. It only serves emotionally manipulate women. Excluding insurance coverage for a service that only women need is discriminatory and will affect poor, rural women and women in vulnerable situations. The State medical system must additionally ensure the availability of various methods of abortion suitable at different stages of pregnancy. These proposed measures will lead to backstreet abortions and increase maternal mortality and morbidity rates and are an affront to women's rights.

All individuals are entitled to the highest attainable standard of health, which the State must ensure. We call on parliamentarians in Russia to turn down the above draft laws.