'Capable' of Having Children

About 1.6 million women had an abortion last year, a fifth of them under the age of 18, and about 1.5 million gave birth, said Vladimir Kulakov, vice president of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences. “Many more” abortions weren’t reported.

“The appearance of a first child pushes many families into poverty,” Kulakov said today in the government’s official newspaper, Rossiskaya Gazeta. “Potential parents first try to start a career, stand on their feet and so forth.”

The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the ensuing hyperinflation and depression deprived millions of Russians of their incomes and savings and discouraged couples from having children. By 2000, the number of pensioners in Europe’s most populous country outnumbered children and adolescents for the first time.

The increase in poverty and the decline in the quality of health care since the fall of communism have left about six million women and 4 million men — seven percent of Russia’s 145 million people — incapable of having children.

Russians are clearly “capable” of having as many children as they need; they are merely choosing to abort them.

Since when were poverty and the low quality of healthcare reasons for not having children? There are billions of people around the planet living with worse healthcare and in deeper poverty but somehow still find themselves “capable” of having children.