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What do you do when you, as a government, are struggling with falling birth rates and an aging population? Some, like the Swedish town Ragunda, considered offering free IVF to attract new residents. Russia has taken a different approach to the same problem. On Friday, legislators passed a law that abortion adverts must carry a health warning (like packets of cigarettes?).

The Duma, Russia's lower house, passed a law saying that 10 percent of the total space in any advertisement for abortion services should carry a warning describing possible negative health consequences for women undergoing a termination of pregnancy. Apparently, these warnings specifically serve the purpose of helping the birth rate to rise. Russia has been one of the countries in the world with the largest number of abortions, so legislators are right to be concerned about this question.

Member of the Duma, Viktor Zvagelsky was quoted as saying: "These ads make young girls believe they won't have any problems interrupting a pregnancy." The MP added that the new law was created because "the situation with abortions in Russia was depressing". Has definitely has a point. In 2007 alone, 1.5 million (!!!) abortions were carried out in Russia, which is nearly the same number of pregnancies being terminated as the number of babies being born. There is certainly nothing wrong with helping your citizens realize that abortion is totally different to birth control, no matter where you stand on the pro-life/pro-choice issue. And this is apparently exactly what people in the Soviet Union, where abortions were free during some periods of its existence, were doing. And might still be doing.

The new law still has to pass the upper house and then needs presidential approval. In this case, those steps are said to be mere formalities. Personally, I've never even seen an ad for abortions. Have you? Do you think a similar warning would be a good idea in your country?

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