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Putin denies abortion ban in Russia, yet private clinics tell The Insider they refrain from the procedure due to new law

At his annual televised call-in on December 14, Vladimir Putin claimed that there are no restrictions, much less bans, on abortion in Russia. The Insider’s correspondent called a number of private clinics across the country — a number said they no longer perform abortions, explaining the refusal by “state regulations.”

The website of the Evropeiskiy (“European”) medical center in Kaliningrad has the service in its price list, with a cost of 10 thousand roubles (approximately $110). Appointments, however, are not available.

“Unfortunately, this operation is no longer performed in our center,” an employee told The Insider’s correspondent over the phone.

The Insider also called the Doctor Plus medical centre in Lipetsk, which also lists an abortion procedure on its website, but the employee refused to make an appointment:

- We just don't do abortions.
- And what is this connected with?
- With the change in legislation.

The employee added that the ban had now been in force for the second month in a row.

Kursk Medical Center No. 1 also refused to provide this service.

“We do not perform abortions. We do not provide such services at the moment,” an employee replied.

Recordings of the conversations are available (in Russian) in the video below.

Despite Putin's statements, in recent months Russia has taken increasing measures to restrict access to abortion. In more than a dozen regions, private clinics have already voluntarily refused to perform abortions, while five regions have introduced fines for 'inducing' women to undergo the procedure. At the federal level, the procedure for selling medication for medical abortion has been tightened, and a bill to ban abortion in all private clinics in Russia was introduced in the State Duma on December 13.

A number of regions have also passed laws on liability for inducing abortion; such measures are already in force in the Republic of Mordovia, the Tver Region, as well as several others. A number of private clinics in multiple regions have also independently refused to perform abortions.

The World Health Organization (WHO) warns that restrictions on access to abortion do not reduce the number of abortions, but do make the procedure less safe. The changes already in place and those still under discussion could have the most deplorable consequences, from impoverishing families and worsening women's health to increasing infanticide.

Read more in The Insider’s recent piece, Operation Birth Rate.

Cover photo: A banner reading “Banning abortion is murdering women” put up by a feminist organization in Chelyabinsk, Russia, in January 2023 / Chelyabinsk Feminist Organization,

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