By Gudrun Schultz
VLADIVOSTOK, Russia, May 30. 2007 (www.LifeSiteNews.com) - Five thousand candles will be lit in Vladivostok's Russian Orthodox Church on Thursday to protest abortion, in observance of the International Children's Day held on June 1.
Russia has one of the highest abortion rates in the world, with 60 percent of pregnancies ending in abortion. In 2005 the country's abortion rate outstripped the birthrate for the first time, LifeSiteNews.com reported last year. Abortion is commonly used as a form of birth control, with the highest percentage occurring among women in their late twenties and early thirties, according to the State Committee on Statistics for the Russian Federation states.
A Vladivostock News report on the protest pointed out that Russia's population is predicted to decline by one-third in the next fifty years, with the population dropping by more than 700,000 per year already.
Russia President Vladimir Putin admitted in 2006 that the country's plunging birth rate was the central factor in the "critical" population decline. In an effort to encourage women to have more children, a ten-year national programme was implemented to offer an increase in childcare benefits.
Low wages in the economically struggling country are seen as a contributing factor to the low birth rate, with married women using abortion as a method of birth control to avoid the cost of raising children. Many women face raising children alone on minimal incomes--between 65 to 80 percent of Russian marriages end in divorce, according to Vladivostock News.
See related LifesSiteNews coverage:
Low Birth Rate is Russia's Biggest Problem Says President Putin
Russian Demographic Situation Worsening – Abortions Outstrip Births
Russian Abortion Killing and Sterilizing Millions; Demographic Collapse Likely to be Worse than Previously Predicted
"In Cordibus Jesu et Mariae"