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Russian Schools Ask Mothers If They Have Had Abortions

Russian Schools Ask Mothers If They Have Had Abortions

A justified scandal has been brewing around the revelation that Russian parents are being asked whether they have had abortions – on a federal ministry questionnaire.  The document, which also requested details about families’ incomes, the details of their living conditions, as well as personal information about the child’s behavior, asked if mothers had planned their pregnancies and whether they have had abortions.

The “Passport of a Pupil’s Health,” a comprehensive questionnaire that the Russian Education and Science Ministry is planning to introduce in 2012.  They have previewed it in a few schools, where it’s creating a stir among parents.  The Ministry claims that the project is designed to encourage children to develop a “responsible attitude toward their health.”  They added that only ten percent of graduates can be called absolutely healthy (whether this is mental or physical health and how this health is measured is unclear).

However, an NGO called the “All-Russia Teacher-Parent Meeting” has joined with parents to protest the questionnaire, saying that it violates basic civil rights and could even be dangerous.  “Who and why,” they asked in a statement, “except for parents and doctors, needs information about the child’s health, his/her illnesses and sexual development?”

The project certainly does seem fishy – and it’s absolutely true that the government should not be asking parents to fill out information about their own physical health, or telling them to assess their child’s mental health.  This is a serious misstep by the Russian government, and citizens and nonprofit organizations have every right to protest such an infringement of their privacy.

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6:45PM PDT on Oct 17, 2010

A very important fact was left out of this posting. That is whether it's anonymous or if parents have to use their name on the questionaire. If it's anonymous I don't see the harm. I don't know how this information can help anyone but maybe there's a reason to know it. I can't say if it's right or wrong since I don't have all the facts.

1:45AM PDT on Oct 15, 2010

What will they use the information for? What happens to a child that doesn't fit the bill of health? What does it matter if this is the only child or the only living child? I do not agree with abortion, but may I judge you if I am not in your shoes? Will a dyslexic child for example be given better education or denied it altogether? So many questions that are probably asked by these parents and NGOs as well.

11:26PM PDT on Oct 9, 2010

I could see trying to figure out how a child's homelife is affecting their ability to learn, but asking about abortion is useless and intrusive.

11:55PM PDT on Oct 8, 2010

What does a mothers abortion (or not) have to do with their child?

4:34PM PDT on Oct 8, 2010

"I am telling you there has to be a stupid pill outthere."

Stupid pill hell, sounds like they swallowed the whole damn bottle!

Seriously, it's nobody's friggin' business whether or not a woman has had an abortion or not, and if I was one of those women filling out that questionnaire, I'd put down the Russian translation for "None of your F$@#ing business!"

4:11PM PDT on Oct 8, 2010

A mother's abortions have nothing to do with a child's health. WTF.

3:20PM PDT on Oct 8, 2010

What a huge step backwards Russia is taking in trying to westernize itself. I guess old habits die hard.There is something so KGB about this article, it's a little scary.

8:31AM PDT on Oct 8, 2010

THere's an amazing range of comments here all over the political spectrum.

2:19AM PDT on Oct 8, 2010


2:05AM PDT on Oct 8, 2010

I'm not sure that this should be on a questionnaire. There must be hospital records of how many abortions are performed. It's a difficult thing to have to be questioned about unnecessarily.

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