By Editorial Staff
Published April 10, 1997
Women who come to state Clinic No. 193 for an abortion these days may be offered something extra: anti-abortion lectures and graphic films such as The Silent Scream.
“We’ll work with those who want to help us,’‘ clinic director Irena Tsvetkova says of her decision to let Association Life, the Russian affiliate of the International Right to Life Federation, counsel in the clinic. “We’re not very experienced at this.’‘
Tsvetkova also dispenses contraceptives and family-planning advice – which anti-abortion forces generally oppose.
It is a catch-all approach increasingly common in Russia, where officials without much money or up-to-date training are trying to curb the highest number of abortions in the world.
Progress has been slow.
By the most conservative estimates, Russia had 3 million to 4 million abortions last year – more than double the number of births. The rate is roughly four times higher than in the United States, and the average Russian woman, it is guessed, has three to eight abortions.
“We have had an abortion culture, and it is changing only slowly. In the Soviet Union it was the only method of family planning,’‘ says Yelena Ballayeva, coordinator of the Open Dialogue on Reproductive Rights.
Family-planning groups like hers cite some successes in lowering abortion through public information campaigns and contraceptives, but say that changing social attitudes takes time.
Meanwhile, a small but vocal contingent of anti-abortion activists, many backed by Western religious groups, are increasingly active. They have the support of the Russian Orthodox Church, and, free of the political baggage they carry in the United State, have broad access to schools, clinics and medical institutes.
The new debate over abortion plays on deep fears in Russia since the loss of the Cold War that its soul is sick and even its physical survival is at risk.
“I am thinking of course of the future of the country,’‘ the clinic director, Tsvetkova, answers when asked why the anti-abortion message appeals to her.
Russia’s birth rate and life expectancy have plummeted, and nationalists say abortion is a crime against the nation. Vitaly Savitsky, a parliament member who is drafting a bill aimed at sharply restricting abortion and encouraging birth, says Russia is otherwise “doomed to extinction.’‘
Still, abortion is so ingrained a right that even its fiercest opponents don’t imagine a ban anytime soon.
“This isn’t Poland with the Catholic Church,’‘ sighs Olga Selikhova, director of Association Life. “We are at square one, trying to change the way people think. Here, they were taught that abortion is like having a tooth out.’‘
In Soviet days, contraceptives were scarce and of such poor quality that the dangers of crude, assembly-line abortions seemed the safer bet. The Soviet state needed women in the work force, and few had the time, money or living space to have more than one child.
Now, higher quality Western contraceptives are more available and affordable, but supplies can be unreliable and fears linger. Sex education is virtually nonexistent.
“People my age mostly hope they’ll just be lucky enough not to get in trouble,’‘ says Vika, a 17-year-old who had an abortion this summer in a new St. Petersburg clinic for teens. She said her boyfriend wouldn’t use condoms and she had heard birth control pills were dangerous.
Moreover, economic hard times continue to make babies seem like luxuries.
Women work in Russia’s lowest paying jobs and account for most of the unemployed. Housing remains tight. And state subsidies to mothers are minuscule, between 30,000 and 50,000 rubles a month per child, roughly $6-$11.
“I would be eager to have a baby,’‘ says Vika, “but I just graduated from school and I don’t have a job.’‘
Even abortion itself is becoming more expensive and difficult to obtain, Ballayeva says.
The crumbling of the Soviet health-care system means many women must go to private or regional clinics that set their own rates for a procedure that used to be free. In addition, a medical-insurance law passed in 1994 disqualified from state coverage abortions performed beyond five weeks.
“If it costs money, a lot of women can’t have it. For many Russian women, even abortion is becoming just a dream,’‘ says Ballayeva, who is helping draft a law that would guarantee the right to affordable abortion.
Last year, President Boris Yeltsin signed a law creating a network of family-planning centers that would distribute free contraceptives based on economic need. It also called for an information campaign in print and broadcast.
As for The Silent Scream, aired three times on national television, it may have the opposite effect in Russia than intended. After seeing the film, which shows in detail what happens to a 12-week-old fetus during abortion, some viewers have said they were impressed by Western hygienic standards.
At Clinic No. 193, Tsvetkova says that whatever the counseling, the decision must still be the woman’s.
“And they seem to go ahead and terminate the pregnancy,’‘ she said.
By The Associated Press
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“When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.” – President Ronald Reagan to National Religious Broadcasters Convention, January 1981
Ronald Reagan became convinced of this as a result of watching The Silent Scream – a movie he considered so powerful and convicting that he screened it at the White House. More recently, it was by catching just a glimpse of what this film reveals that Planned Parenthood director and abortion advocate Abby Johnson turned and became a strong advocate for the pre-born.
The modern technology of real-time ultrasound now reveals the actual responses of a 12-week old fetus to being aborted. As the unborn child attempts to escape the abortionist’s suction curette, her motions can be seen to become desperately agitated and her heart rate doubles. Her mouth opens – as if to scream – but no sound can come out. Her scream doesn’t have to remain silent, however … not if you will become her voice. This newly re-mastered version features eight language tracks and two bonus videos.
“…a high technology “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” arousing public opinion just as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 antislavery novel ignited the abolitionist movement.” – Sen. Gordon Humphrey, Time Magazine
Languages: English, Spanish, French, South Korean, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese
Running Time: 28 minutes
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Foundations in Biblical Eschatology
By Jay Rogers, Larry Waugh, Rodney Stortz, Joseph Meiring. High quality paperback, 167 pages.
All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?
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Is there a connection between pagan religion and the abortion industry?
This powerful presentation traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God and crime against humanity has produced in our beleaguered society.
Conceived as a sequel and update to the 1988 classic, The Massacre of Innocence, the new title, The Abortion Matrix, is entirely fitting. It not only references abortion’s specific target – the sacred matrix where human beings are formed in the womb in the very image of God, but it also implies the existence of a conspiracy, a matrix of seemingly disparate forces that are driving this holocaust.
The occult activity surrounding the abortion industry is exposed with numerous examples. But are these just aberrations, bizarre yet anomalous examples of abortionists who just happen to have ties to modern day witchcraft? Or is this representative of something deeper, more sinister and even endemic to the entire abortion movement?
As the allusion to the film of over a decade ago suggests, the viewer may learn that things are not always as they appear to be. The Abortion Matrix reveals the reality of child-killing and strikes the proper moral chord to move hearts to fulfill the biblical responsibility to rescue those unjustly sentenced to death and to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 24:11,12; 31:8,9).
Speakers include: George Grant, Peter Hammond, RC Sproul Jr., Paul Jehle, Lou Engle, Rusty Thomas, Flip Benham, Janet Porter and many more.
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Running Time: 195 minutes
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“Here I stand … I can do no other!”
With these immortal words, an unknown German monk sparked a spiritual revolution that changed the world.
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Running time: 105 minutes
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Watch a clip from Martin Luther.
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With “preaching to the lost” being such a basic foundation of Christianity, why do many in the church seem to be apathetic on this issue of preaching in highways and byways of towns and cities?
Is it biblical to stand in the public places of the world and proclaim the gospel, regardless if people want to hear it or not?
Does the Bible really call church pastors, leaders and evangelists to proclaim the gospel in the public square as part of obedience to the Great Commission, or is public preaching something that is outdated and not applicable for our day and age?
These any many other questions are answered in this documentary.
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