Russian Orthodox Patriarch Wants to Cut ‘Horrifyingly High’ Abortion Rates

As pro-life activists in the United States, including Orthodox clergy, demonstrated against abortion in the United States, the Patriarch of Moscow also made headlines for a speech delivered before Russian lawmakers.

MOSCOW (Reuters) — Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill called on Thursday for a deep cut in the “horrifyingly high” number of abortions, which he linked to a Western rejection of moral norms.

“The idea of absolutely prioritizing the value of free choice and of rejecting the priority of moral norms has become a slowly exploding bomb for Western civilisation,” he said in a speech to lawmakers.

“If we could just cut in half the number of abortions, there would be steady and powerful demographic growth.”

Russia’s population has been declining since the mid-1990s, hit by falling birth rates and life expectancy in the chaos that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union. It currently stands at 142.5 million, compared with 148.7 million in 1991.

Kirill’s speech was described by state media as the first address by a head of the Russian Orthodox Church to the Duma, or lower chamber of parliament, in modern Russia.

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