Sanctity of Motherhood

Oleg Filippov: It is a victory. In 2016 in Russia the amount of abortions decreased by 70,000

Oleg Filippov: It is a victory.  In 2016 in Russia the amount of abortions decreased by 70,000

On November 24 the conference dedicated to the 140th anniversary of Saint Luke Voino-Yasenetsky, the renowned surgeon, was held at the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation. 

Participants of the conference included practicing obstetricians-gynecologists, psychologists and experts. The awards ceremony was held during the session.  The prize fund was 1,000,000 Rubles.


The session was moderated by Natalia Yakunina, member of the Presidential Coordinating Council on Implementation of the National Action Strategy for Children’s Benefit, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the all-Russian programme “Sanctity of Motherhood”.

 — I would like to remind you that we are gathered here at the conference dedicated to Saint Luke Voino-Yasenetsky. This remarkable person had the features of both a doctor and a priest. He is one of the most worshipped saints in Russia and beyond. Many churches in Greece are devoted to this renowned saint, - Natalia Yakunina said. She told that thousands of people came to worship the relics of the Saint in the Greek town of Patras where the Foundation delivered the relics to.

Natalia Yakunina reminded about webinars on “Sanctity of Motherhood” programme of the Foundation of St. Andrew the First-Called. They became the discussion platform for specialists regarding a wide range of issues such as medical and ethical implications in the activity of a psychologist for pre-abortion counseling. 

“It is this socializing on the internet that helps specialists cope with their uneasy work. Acknowledged experts in the field of bio-ethics, psychology and sociology are the lecturers” – said Natalia Yakunina.

Anna Kuznetsova, Children's Rights Commissioner for the President of the Russian Federation, said welcome words addressed to participants, “people who gathered for the sake of family and child protection”.

According to Anna Kuznetsova, the opinions expressed at the conference will help develop a document with proposals for “The Ten Years of Childhood in Russia”. She thanked Natalia Yakunina and the Foundation of St. Andrew the First-Called for the projects “which help individuals”.

Anna Kuznetsova believes the work on the Foundation’s project “Family Studies in Education” is of particular importance. The project aims to support the current school courses on family studies.

Oleg Filippov, a member of the Jury of “Sanctity of Motherhood” Contest, Deputy Director of Department of Medical Aid for Children and Maternity Obstetric Service under the Healthcare Ministry, provided the official statistics of the Ministry.

According to his data, the amount of abortions in 2016 in Russia decreased by 70,000 in comparison to the year 2015. It is a victory. And I would like to draw your attention to it. “As for the characteristics of abortions in Russia, I would like you to note that 55% of abortions are made according to a woman’s decision. According to statistics, 376,000 abortions were made in 2016, where 10% of women wished to postpone having a baby, 24% of women didn’t want to have another baby and in 17% of cases a woman’s partner was against the birth. It is 51% our joint efforts should be focused on for these women to make their own voluntary decision to keep the baby” – said the representative of the Russian Healthcare Ministry.

It is the type of women we are focused on. These are women we must focus our intensive work on.

According to Oleg Filippov, unfortunately the amount of abortions among girls under 14 years old is still the same.

According to the new federal law, since December 2017 it is necessary to be licensed in order to provide services related to abortions. “In the near future it will involve all the clinics providing this service. They will have to undergo the state licensing procedure. And now we will be able to obtain the true statistics related to abortions in Russia” – he noted.

Moreover, Oleg Filippov refuted one of the society’s worries related to the programme of pre-abortion psychological counseling: “we are told that prevention of abortions causes growing number of abandoned children. Nothing of the kind. The amount of newborn babies mothers leave behind at obstetrics institutions are the following: the number of 6,000 abandoned children reduced to 3,000”.

To conclude his speech he thanked colleagues for their fruitful work.

Surgeon Leo Bokeria complained that plenty of Russian mothers renounce a baby while they are at maternity clinic when they learn of the baby’s cardiac defect.

“Following this situation we came up with the action called “Touch the baby’s heart”. Held at “Olympiysky” Sports Complex, the performance was presented by fellows who were operated on back in their childhood. At that moment, in 1999, they were 19-20 years old. The hall was full of people as two teams were playing: the second team was “Hit FM with Oleg Gazmanov”. Besides, pop stars performed on the stage. At the time the situation in Cardiac Surgery was different: there were no quota we have today; and there wasn’t enough budget money. We had to find ways to help children. We used every little help to raise money” – he told.

Leo Bokeria told that the action was continued and resulted in “The League of National Health”. He invited colleagues to join the annual forum held at Gostiny Dvor. At the end he added: “I look forward to further collaboration. I am surprised we haven’t met before”.

Archpriest Mikhail Zazvonov, Head of Department of Family, Motherhood and Childhood Protection of Synodal Department for Church Charity and Social Service of the Russian Orthodox Church, presented a video with social advertising. He took part in creation of the video which gained attention in social networks. He told about some parishioners from one of Saint-Petersburg churches.

“A priest I know told about his church members who were getting ready for a serious operation to be held in Germany. The priest told them to pray to Saint Luke. And the priest was praying as well. They held a service for the Saint at the church. Some time later the church members came back from Germany and told about the great miracle that took place at the hospital. During the operation doctors said the following: “These Russians are crazy. Why have you brought him to Germany and paid so much money for the operation? Or have you brought your doctor with you?” The relatives replied: “We haven’t brought anyone”. “How is that possible? That man was assisting during the operation”. After that they were shown a journal with the following Russian words there: “Archbishop Luke” –Father Mikhail told.

Olga Zyabko


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