From Reuters’s FaithWorld blog, a story about a proposed abortion law in Russia. The new law, which seems likely to pass, would ban all abortions after the 12th week of pregnancy, impose a one-week waiting period, and require women who are more than six weeks pregnant to view an ultrasound picture of the embryo and listen to its heartbeat before going through with an abortion. The new law has the strong backing of the Russian Orthodox Church, a powerful force in Russian society, and the FaithWorld story focuses on that angle. ┬áI wonder how much the church is really driving things, though.┬áRussia faces a demographic crisis; by 2050, the UN predicts, Russia’s population will have fallen by 20%, if current trends continue. And its abortion rate is the highest in the world, 73 per 100 births in 2009. So I suspect that secular forces support the new law as well; their influence may be the decisive factor. — MLM

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