Culture Ethics

Russian Orthodox patriarch wants to cut ‘horrifyingly high’ abortion rates

Orthodox Patriarch Kirill (L) receives congratulations from clergy after he was crowned as the 16th Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia in Moscow's Christ the Saviour Cathedral, February 1, 2009. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin *Note: This photo may only be republished with RNS-RUSSIAN-ORTHODOX, originally published on January 23, 2015.

MOSCOW (Reuters) Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill called on Thursday for a deep cut in the “horrifyingly high” number of abortions, which he linked to a Western rejection of moral norms.

Orthodox Patriarch Kirill (L) receives congratulations from clergy after he was crowned as the 16th Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia in Moscow's Christ the Saviour Cathedral, February 1, 2009. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

Orthodox Patriarch Kirill (L) receives congratulations from clergy after he was crowned as the 16th Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia in Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral, February 1, 2009. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

“The idea of absolutely prioritizing the value of free choice and of rejecting the priority of moral norms has become a slowly exploding bomb for Western civilisation,” he said in a speech to lawmakers.

“If we could just cut in half the number of abortions, there would be steady and powerful demographic growth.”

Russia’s population has been declining since the mid-1990s, hit by falling birth rates and life expectancy in the chaos that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union. It currently stands at 142.5 million, compared with 148.7 million in 1991.

Kirill’s speech was described by state media as the first address by a head of the Russian Orthodox Church to the Duma, or lower chamber of parliament, in modern Russia.

It was a sign of the church’s growing influence under President Vladimir Putin, who has sought to champion conservative Russian values at a time of heightened tension with the West, especially over the conflict in Ukraine.

“Russia’s ability to stand up in the face of modern pseudo-values depends to a large extent on the active stance of Russian parliamentarians,” the black-robed patriarch said.

About the author

Thomas Grove


Click here to post a comment

  • The church leaders fail to note that one reason the population is shrinking in Russia is that people are leaving in droves in the face of an increasingly belligerent dictatorship.

    Putin has revived the Orthodox Church’s entanglement with the state. The sort of thing which led to millions of people fleeing the nation in the early 20th Century. The more things change…

  • Putin kisses the Cross, embraces Christianity. Pays Russian mothers to stay home and have kids. Abortion allowed only until 12th week of pregnancy( stil awful but better than US policy of abortion up until delivery) Outlaws homosexuality( public displays)Locks up western fronted “Pussy Riot” and “Femen” . Upholds western classical education.( in the most traditional sense)
    Now, whatever he once was, he is now the greatest ( political) promoter of Christianity in the entire world.
    Obama? Yeah.. Aren’t we lucky to live in such a “Christian” nation…..65 million dead unborn American babies and counting. USA, USA! What a joke

  • Russia is importing people. The door is always open to you. You may feel free to leave the US at any time for the Christian paradise of Russia.

    You can have it. Personally I see much of the same nonsense in Russia that led my family to come here in the early 1900’s.

  • Lily,

    I am a Christian and am 100% pro-life and pro traditional family, but believe me when I tell you, Putin is NOT doing this for religious reasons. He is using religious people to unite the USSR and create nationalism and that nationalism will be brought about by pushing Russian Orthodoxy only to trick the country into thinking he is pushing for Christianity.

    Let’s not forget that Hitler outlawed homosexuality too and he tried to unite everyone under Catholicism but he himself was just using religion to gain support.

    Abortion is bad and we should fight for the rights of the unborn, but when someone is using Christians only to turn against them later (and he will-just like Hitler) then you have to recognize that and not be fooled into thinking he is a good man just because he is letting the Russian Orthodox church rise to power.

    In every scenario where there is a religion in power-all the way back to Jesus’ day, and still today, it is NEVER a good thing. People who want power will use religious people as their pawns until they get their desired goal and then they turn on them.

    Be careful what you wish for. I am not a fan of the president either, but I’d take Obama over Putin who has people killed at whim.

    And one last thing-Russia is using this new “morality” to point to the USA and other freedom-loving countries to say “look what freedom leads to: Immorality” so that the people are brainwashed to think that freedom=immoral. This allows him to take a totalitarian position and say “You need the government to rule your life so you don’t make immoral decisions.”

    I know it looks like Russia has become the new moral center, but it has not. I thought that too until I looked into it.Russia’s 3rd highest revenue comes from the sex slave industry, so they will take money for sexual immorality, but outlaw another part of it. (homosexuality) Do your research. You’ll see what I’m talking about. 🙂 Pray for our country, pray for our abortion laws to change, and pray for Russians, especially Russian protestant missionaries because they are being run out of the country. Now if Russia was trying to be so “Christian” why would you start outlawing protestant missionaries?

  • “Now if Russia was trying to be so “Christian” why would you start outlawing protestant missionaries?”

    Because a Christian government is always a sectarian one. When religion is entangled with the apparatus of state, it always leads to religious discrimination.

    Its why our founders in their infinite wisdom never considered us a Christian nation. They hardwired our system to be a nation of multitudes. Many voices.

    Frankly given your stance, it appears your main objection is that Putin lacks sincerity and is not the right type of Christian. But would you have the same objections if Putin claimed to be imbued with Christian spirit and zeal and was a Protestant?

  • The Russian Orthodox Church and its union with Putin is a part of the problem, not the solution. And while I support its pro-life stance, pro-life laws alone aren’t enough to turn a society toward being pro-life. What’s also needed is greater political, economic, and religious freedom undergirded by rule of law….that is how you create an opportunity society, where kids have a real future and thus have something to look forward to and to plan for. If the perceived future is bleak, then people are more apt to live for today and engage in behavior that raises the risk of unwed pregnancies….and the greater the number of unwed pregnancies, the greater the demand for abortion. Give kids hope for the future by creating a free and dynamic society and abortions will go down… they have even in America, despite its having one of the most radically pro-abortion legal stances in the world.

  • Anti-choice laws aren’t any part of the solution. Neither are any legal and economic barriers to contraception.

    Christians don’t generally offer anything effective towards the situation. They extol useless things like abstinence-only education for youth, confound access to contraception for the poor, and generally think little towards the education and career opportunities of women.

  • People fled Russia in the 20th century due to communism. The involvement of the church withthe state was that the church was infiltrated with communism and became almost totally corrupt. However, they fled to escape communism not a religious state.

  • “Now if Russia was trying to be so “Christian” why would you start outlawing protestant missionaries?”

    Because they are HERETICS!

  • People fled Russian due to the czar as well. Look up the word “pogrom” and get back to me. You are either forgetting or intentionally omitting very material facts here.

    The largest wave of immigration from Russia came prior to WWI. My family and about few million people came to the US from Russia long before the communists took power. It would not be matched until the Russian Civil War with the diaspora of “Whites” fleeing the communists.

    The church and the state were one in the same. Sectarian violence was inspired and supported by both Czar and Church.

  • What is an “anti-choice” law? Now that’s a redundancy if ever I’ve read one. By their nature, laws often limit people’s choices. A traffic law limits me from choosing the speed limit I deem appropriate. (A particularly egregious example is a major thoroughfare near my neighborhood with a mind-numbingly low hop25 MPH speed limit.)

    The rest of your post is the usual silliness that pits abstinence against contraception, as if every kid will benefit from the latter and none from the former as an educational message. Obviously, it depends on who you’re talking about.

    And speaking of education, if you really want to improve the quality of education as well as its outcomes, the last thing in the world you should favor is the same-old-same-old reactionary view that dumping dollars into failing systems is the way to go.

    The answer to improving education in the poorest areas may be summed up in a word you just used a moment ago — choice.

    Give poor parents the same choice of schools as rich parents and watch education improve across the board.

    Funny how lefties are “pro-choice” on abortion alone and anti-choice on virtually every other issue our society faces. A cute little trick — hijacking libertarian-sounded language for a single issue, while rejecting libertarianism in every other nook and cranny of life, in favor of an exponentially expanding nanny state.

  • Too bad there are no longer people alive today who lived under both the Czar and the Soviets. As bad as the Czar was, especially for Jews and what we would now call evangelical and charismatic Christians, the Communists were even worse. For Jews, they attacked both Jewish nationality and its aspirations (Zionism) and Jewish religion. That is what brought Jews and evangelicals together in the 1970s against the Soviet tyrants.

    Generations of leftists found it painful to ponder the grotesque failures of communism on both the freedom scale and the prosperity scale. Promising prosperity in exchange for surrender of freedom, it delivered neither.

  • “just like your myriads of spamming posts.”

    Spam? As in?…

    “Believe or be condemned” – Jesus (Mark 16:16)
    “Believe or be condemned” – Jesus (Mark 16:16)
    “Believe or be condemned” – Jesus (Mark 16:16)
    “Believe or be condemned” – Jesus (Mark 16:16)
    “Believe or be condemned” – Jesus (Mark 16:16)

    Could be time to think for oneself for a change?

  • “Promising prosperity in exchange for surrender of freedom, it delivered neither.”

    Religion = Any Enforced Dogma
    Which is why it leads to misery and violence.

    Freedom is almost impossible unless religion is very weak.

  • Comparative dictatorship studies is a ridiculous pasttime which bemoans a complete lack of perspective. Being oppressed by one group is not better than being oppressed by another. Nobody wants to be on the receiving end of the efforts of either.

    Not a single regime in Russia was ever kind to the Jews or any other religious minority. Comparative “badness” is a pointless endeavor.

  • Feigning ignorance or just engaging semantic wankery?

    Abortion bans are anti-choice laws. The anti-abortion stance is not “pro-life” because by its nature it attacks the lives and liberties of born women. One does not protect the life of a fetus without attacking its mother’s life in some fashion.

    Conservative Christians offer NOTHING of value when it comes to the abortion issue. They attack contraception (the best way to prevent unwanted pregnancy), they try to institute abortion bans (which simply drive abortion into an unsafe underground or promote abortion tourism) and extol useless measures such as “abstinence only” education. The sole purpose of the conservative Christian anti-choice POV is to wag fingers at people and bemoan how sinful they are. Nothing at all to do with addressing an issue.

    Your post is just ad hominem insult slinging with nothing addressing what I said. Slinging words like liberal, leftie and reactionary and taking shortcut labels for points of view and arguments not expressed. Jack that was just lazy on your part.

  • Larry your full of crap! Have you ever been to Russia!?Have you formally studied Russia’s demographic trends? Are you aware that independent polls put Putin’s popularity in 70-80% range. Take you anti-Russian propaganda somewhere where people are ignorant, otherwise keep quiet or you’ll only reveal the depths of your own ignorance!