torsdag 1 september 2011

Letter to Russia

TO:hon. Sergey Mironov, MP, President,“A Just Russia” Party

2 September 2011

Dear Hon. Mironov, MP,

RE: Anti-women amendments to the draft law "About basics of health protection of the citizens of the Russian Federation" presented by a member of “A Just Russia” Party

It has come to our attention that the State Duma of the Russian Federation will consider a draft law "About basics of health protection of the citizens of the Russian Federation" this September and that a member of the party you preside, Hon. Yelena Mizulina, MP has presented a series of amendments which would seek to limit women’s rights in the field of health, among them in accessing a safe a legal abortion. All of us who have signed this letter are Members of Parliament from Socialist parties across Europe with specific experience in women’s rights and sexual and reproductive health and rights.

While we recognise the right of national parliaments to legislate in the area of health in full sovereignty as well as the independence of individual members of parliament in matters related to their personal religious beliefs, we do also find that the amendments proposed by Hon. Mizulina, MP for “A Just Russia” Party are also in grave contradiction with socialist values as we understand them.

We believe that the amendments proposed by Hon. Mizulina, MP for “A Just Russia” Party which would:

- require written agreement from the husband of any married woman wishing to have an abortion;

- require women wanting an abortion to wait a fixed period, for pregnancies less than 11 weeks this “silence time” would be 1 week, but for any more developed pregnancies this would be 48 hours;

- force women seeking an abortion to go through a mandatory counselling session where the counsellor would attempt to convince the woman to keep the pregnancy and listen to the heartbeat of the foetus;

would represent a serious contravention of women’s right to health and privacy. When we see that the well-being of millions of Russian women is in peril and this because of the actions of a fellow socialist, we feel compelled to act.

Article 3 of Ethical Charter of the Socialist International, adopted at the XXII Congress of the Socialist International, São Paulo which stipulates that the Code of Conduct of the Socialist International includes respect of private life, fostering gender equality in every area of private and public life, as well as fighting against all forms of discrimination, including based on gender.

We hope that you can take this into consideration. While we understand that the demographic challenges in Russia are of paramount importance, we do not believe that they will be overcome by sacrificing women’s rights. In recent decades, a number of European countries have been able to reverse declining birth rates by investing in women and their health and rights. We will be pleased to share these examples from France, Belgium, Sweden and other countries so that a sound approach to overcoming population decline can be found which is based on Socialist values.

Yours sincerely, Carina Hägg and....................................................