Women’s reproductive rights in Russia and Belarus are systematically violated. The origins of this problem can be traced back to the dehumanizing practices and paternalistic tradition of Soviet maternal health care. A legacy of the Soviet system is the high level of obstetric aggression and the medicalization of pregnancy and childbirth, the restriction of women’s right to partner birth, and the criminalization of alternative midwifery. At present, an accelerating demographic crisis and the revival of the traditionalist rhetoric of “keeping the family strong” provide justification for oppressing abortion rights.
At the same time, (pseudo)conservative rhetoric often masks the problem of forced abortion. Gynecologists and psychiatrists repeatedly promote abortion among women with psychiatric diagnoses in order to avoid ‘transmitting the disease to their offspring’. In some cases, pregnant women in psychiatric hospitals are physically abused to induce a miscarriage. In Belarus, the current political situation has made it virtually impossible to monitor cases of violations of women's reproductive rights, including those held in closed security institutions (hospitals, maternity hospitals, neuropsychiatric dispensaries, and prisons).
Our goal is to draw attention to both sides of reproductive coercion – pregnancy promoting (including the use of Assisted Reproductive Technologies) and pregnancy avoiding - in relation to the violence and control produced by society and the state. Our main presentation will highlight the situation in Russia and Belarus. We kindly invite all participants to take part in the discussion following the main presentation, either (1) by giving their feedback on Russia and Belarus or (2) by making a comparison to other countries. The discussion will touch upon the following questions:
Authors of the main presentation:
For further information, please, contact: Olga Vinogradova firstname.lastname@example.org, or Sergei Shevchenko email@example.com