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City news
Catholic charity opens pregnancy counselling
12.22.2003 12:48

Catholic charity opens pregnancy counselling A Catholic charity has started providing a counselling and support service in St. Petersburg to pregnant women who are thinking of having an abortion.

The German-funded charity Caritas says it is worried about Russia's demographic decline. Its Life Protection project provides women with psychological and material help if they decide to proceed with the pregnancy.

"Our main concern is the birthrate and the great number of abortions in Russia," said Olyga Kochatkova, head of the project, who has been working with Caritas for four years.

Abortion is a common, relatively cheap form of birth control with about 13 abortions for every 10 Russian children born. In 2001, the World Health Organization said Russia had one of the highest abortion rates in the world.

Abortions are offered free to women aged 18 or under and cost only about 1,500 rubles ($50) for older women.

Little in the way of sex education is offered in schools and women seeking abortions are not required to undergo counselling.

Russia's death rate is alarmingly high, and some demographic experts fear that if present trends continue the population will shrink by a third in 50 years.

Although unusual for a Catholic organization to do so, Life Protection also provides information on contraception, but only if women request it. It also teaches young people about basic family values and the importance of love in sexual relationships.

The project is approved by the Orthodox Church and City Hall's health committee.

News source: www.sptimes.ru
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