The Latest Trends in Reproductive Health and the Problem of Abortion in Russia

The Latest Trends in Reproductive Health and the Problem of Abortion in Russia

Sakevich V.I.

Cand. Sci. (Econ.), Senior researcher, Institute of Demography, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia.

Denisov B.P.

Cand. Sci. (Econ.), First Category Engineer, Faculty of Economics, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia.

ID of the Article:

The article is based on the research implemented in the framework of the Basic Research Program at the National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE University).

For citation:

Sakevich V.I., Denisov B.P. The Latest Trends in Reproductive Health and the Problem of Abortion in Russia. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2019. No 11. P. 140-151


In 2019, the world celebrates the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo. The conference launched a demographic policy shift from state interests to human rights, including the right to reproductive health. The article discusses the current situation in the field of birth control in Russia based on the approach developed by the Cairo Conference. We show that the Russian Federation is no longer a global leader in the number of abortions, and in younger ages, reproductive behavior differs little from other developed countries. The accessibility and expansion of the contraceptive market have played a leading role in reducing the number of induced abortions. Despite the position of some pressure groups and attempts to limit reproductive rights, government abortion policies remain liberal. The observed improvement in reproductive health is not a significant demographic reserve in terms of population growth, but it is of great importance for the quality of life of the population.

reproductive health; reproductive behavior; birth control; abortion; contraception; family planning


Baranov A.A. (ed.) (1999) Children's Health in Russia. Moscow: Soyuz pediatrov Rossii. (In Russ.)

Denisov B., Sakevich V. (2014) Abortion in Post-Soviet Russia: is there any reason for optimism? Demograficheskoe obozrenie [Demographic Review]. No. 1(5): 50–68. DOI: 10.17323/demreview. v1i5.3172.

Dikke G.B. (2017) Five Steps to Successful Contraception: a Guide for Doctors. Moscow: Akademiya Estestvoznaniya. (In Russ.)

Entwisle B., Kozyreva P. (1997) New Estimates of Induced Abortion in Russia. Studies in Family Planning. Vol. 28. No. 1: 14–23.

Family Planning: A Global Handbook for Providers. WHO Department of Reproductive Health and Research and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. (2008) / Center for Communication Programs (CCP). Baltimore; Geneva: CCP and WHO. URL: (accessed 24.04.2019). (In Russ.)

Final Report «Reproductive Health of the Population of Russia 2011». (2013) Rosstat, Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, UNFPA, Department of Reproductive Health of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (USA), Information and Publishing Center «Statistics of Russia». Moscow: Rosstat. (In Russ.)

Ganatra B., Gerdts C., Rossier C. et al. (2017) Global, Regional, and Subregional Classification of Abortions by Safety, 2010–14: Estimates from a Bayesian Hierarchical Model. Lancet. Vol. 390. November 25: 2372–2381. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(17)31794-4.

Radzinsky V.E. (ed.) (2014) Prevention of Reproductive Losses: Strategy and Tactics. Selected Materials of the Educational Seminar «Innovations in Obstetrics and Gynecology from the Standpoint of Evidence-based Medicine». Newsletter. Moscow: Redaktsiya zhurnala StatusPraesens. (In Russ.)

Philipov D., Andreev E., Kharkova T., Shkolnikov V. (2004) Induced Abortion in Russia: Recent Trends and Under-Reporting in Surveys. European Journal of Population. No. 20: 95–117.

Safe Abortion: Technical and Policy Guidance for Health Systems. (2012) 2nd ed. World Health Organization.

Sakevich V., Denisov B., Rivkin-Fish M. (2016) Incoherence in Birth Control Policy and the Dynamics of Abortion in Russia. Zhurnal issledovaniy sotsial'noy politiki [The Journal of Social Policy Studies]. Vol. 14. No. 4: 461–478. (In Russ.)

Siegel J.S. (2012) The Demography and Epidemiology of Human Health and Aging. Ch. 9: Reproductive Health. Springer Science + Business Media B.V.

Singh S., Remez L., Sedgh G., Kwok L., Onda T. (2018) Abortion Worldwide 2017: Uneven Progress and Unequal Access. U.S.: Guttmacher Institute.

The Main Indicators of Maternal and Child Health, the Activities of the Service of the Protection of Children and Obstetric aid in the Russian Federation. (2018) / Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation; FGBU TsNIIOIZ. Moscow. (In Russ.)

Vishnevsky A., Denisov B., Sakevich V. (2017) The Contraceptive Revolution in Russia. Demograficheskoe obozrenie [Demographic Review]. No. 4(5): 86–108. (In Russ.) DOI: 10.17323/demreview.v4i5.8570.

Zakharov S.V., Sakevich V.I. (2017) Birth Rate and Family Planning. In: Zakharov S.V. (ed.) Population of Russia 2015: the Twenty-third Annual Demographic Report. Moscow: VShE. (In Russ.)

Content No 11, 2019