Awareness-Raising to Preserve Women’s Reproductive Rights

The Situation: In April 2011, an agency presented a new bill that, if passed, would severely limit women’s reproductive rights in Russia. Backed by the Russian Orthodox Church and the growing “pro-life” movement, the proposed bill introduced provisions greatly restricting women’s access to abortions. The bill’s supporters launched a media campaign misinforming the public on the health effects of abortion and framing the bill as “in the best interests of women’s welfare.”

The Rapid Response: The Russian Association for Population and Development (RAPD) works in 43 regions of Russia as one of the few human rights organizations working to provide medical assistance to the general population around sexual and reproductive health rights. Recognizing the opportunity to raise public awareness prior to the autumn elections, RAPD developed a plan for an awareness-raising campaign targeting women’s reproductive rights supporters, policymakers, heads of medical institutions and the media. The campaign plan included the translation and distribution of brochures detailing both the myths and scientific facts of abortion.

The Impact: Despite RAPD’s efforts, several bills have become law in Russia that restrict women’s reproductive rights as well as LGBT rights. (Read more here.) RAPD continues to raise awareness, educate others about their rights and publicize the impact of conservative legislation regarding women’s health and sexuality.