On April 5, three deputies from All-Ukrainian Union "Freedom" (Svoboda) registered a draft bill, banning abortions in Ukraine. The document stipulates that permission for an abortion can be given only if pregnancy poses direct threat to woman's life or if fetus has grave pathologies. According to the authors of the document, the next and the last weighty reason to make an abortion is the proved fact of pregnancy from rape. 

Apart from limiting women's right to decide whether to have a child or not, authors of the document - Oleksandr Sych, Ruslan Zelik and Ruslan Martsynkiv - propose to introduce criminal responsibility and imprisonment from 3 to 7 years for doctors practicing abortions illegally. 

Moreover, people promoting abortions may also get their share of punishment. If a person publicly says that fetus is not a man or that abortion is not a murder, he may face a fine of 50-100 tax-exempt minimum wages.

ForUm has asked experts whether there is a point in prohibiting abortions and what consequences such law may cause.

Olha Herasymiuk, journalist:

- People who lived in the days when abortion was illegal remember about backstreet abortions, about how they were traumatizing for physical and mental health. Traditionally, Ukraine used to have big families, but we should be realists and understand that to give birth is one thing, but to bring up and maintain children is another one.  Simple ban will do no good.

The given draft bill is a pure populist idea, aimed at achieving some personal goals. I am sure the bill will find no support among the MPs. In fact, I do not understand why these MPs promote discrimination against women and want to deprive them of the right to decide own destiny. Why don't they submit a draft bill on castration of men, who also must be responsible regarding birth matter?

Yuri Gaihayev, former healthcare minister:

- In my opinion, a woman has a right to decide on her own. No doubt, similar intervention is not good for the organism, but we all remember the times when abortions were illegal. The operations simply withdrew into the shadows, which caused even more suffering and pain. Personally, I stand against abortion, but to ban it legally... I don't think such approach is appropriate. In fact, any prohibition brings negative consequences.

Natalia Rynchag, chief research worker of the Ptukha's Institute of Demography and Social Study:

- In my opinion, before submitting similar law the authors of the draft bill should have studied the history and experience of such ban our country already had in the past. Such measures lead to unnecessary fatal casualties and destroyed careers. Women who want to make an abortion will find a way, but this way will not be safe. I agree that killing a new life is a sin, but to have unwanted child is no better.     
To expect that prohibition of abortion will increase the birth rate is a delusion. Women will always find a way, and it will be great if among solutions there will be only 'medical tourism' - abortion in a neighboring country. However, not everyone can afford a trip abroad, thus women may start using barbaric methods, like overdose of medicines, knitting pins, hot bath with mustard, lifting heavy objects... I used to be an ambulance doctor, and once had a young woman dying in my arms after illegal abortion. There was nothing we could do to save her. God forbid seeing this again...
Yes, the high level of abortions is a big social problem of our country. However, the rate goes down (twice less since 2000), and education and awareness are better methods than the ban.
Konstantyn Panteyev, head of the curia department on spiritual care of detainees in Ukraine:

- Christians and believers know that human life is sacred. Fetus is already a tiny man, who has fingerprints and brain activity. Abortion is a cruel act, as an unborn baby is as much alive as we are, but cannot defend himself. As a priest, I listened to confessions of women, who made abortion twenty, thirty, forty years ago, but still felt guilty and could not find peace, even if the sin was granted forgiveness.

The level of aggression against unborn children is high in our country, and it traumatizes the nation. However, I would not introduce criminal responsibility for abortions. Such drastic measures will not solve the problem. We need to carry out social work and root out ethical relativism. If a woman does not have means and conditions to raise a child, she must be provided social protection. If a woman does not want a child, he must be given for adoption. There are many alternatives, but it is important to overcome spite in the society.

Nelly Verkhovska, psychologist, writer:

- If the draft bill is adopted, many illegal abortion clinics will appear in the country. Ban on abortion can be compared with the dry law. Illegalization causes development of shadow business. Moreover, good specialists will not risk their careers, thus the operations will be made by non-professionals, which will cause even more suffering.

Our Constitution stipulates that a person has a right to develop as he sees fit unless it violates the rights of other people. It means that a woman has a right to decide on her own what to do with her body. When those who stand against abortions cry out about killing children, a question arises: who says women can be killed? Pregnancy and delivery can result into death of a woman. Moreover, it is a personal choice whether to sacrifice the body and vital resources for growing another human being.   

Now some words about psychological aspect. Sigmund Freud said that a man who tries to control lives of other people have problems to control some spheres of personal life. Not being able to solve their own problems such people start imposing their views on other people. "It would have been funny if it weren't so sad."
Natalia Vitrenko, leader of the All-Ukrainian public organization "Union of orthodox women":

- I am a woman, and I know what it is to have a child or abortion. I am against abortions, but at the same time, I stand against legal prohibition of abortions. There are different situations in life, when a woman decides to make abortion, and this woman does not need the law to press on her while she makes this important decision. When the dry law was introduced, people did not stop drinking, but dodged the law, usually with negative consequences for health. I believe Ukraine does not need the ban, but proper information campaign and social protection.
Maria Alekseyenko, head of the "Women's consortium of Ukraine":

- The given initiative of "Freedom" limits women's rights and violates their rights, stipulated by the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, ratified by Ukraine in 1981 and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. I believe male deputies want to shift responsibility for artificial termination of pregnancy exclusively to women's shoulders. It would not solve the problem of birth rate or maternal mortality, but will cause negative consequences for women's health. I call upon our deputies not to support the initiative, but focus on constructive measures regarding demographic policy and reproductive health.


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