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How US Evangelicals Fueled the Rise of Russia's 'Pro-life' Movement

Don Feder : Jan 30, 2014
World Congress of Families

"In addition to the moral and human rights aspects of abortion, this is a huge incentive for Russians to think seriously about what it will take to reverse their nation's demographic slide."-Larry Jacobs

World Congress of Families(Rockford, IL)—The January 27 issue of The Nation, in a story headlined, "How US Evangelicals Fueled the Rise of Russia's 'Pro-Family' Right," recognizes the World Congress of Families (WCF) leadership role in bringing together pro-life/pro-family forces in the United States and Russia.

The story calls Alexey Komov, WCF Representative in Russia and the CIS, "part of a new generation of young anti-choice activists in Russia who are drawing on tactics that have come to define the battle over reproductive rights in the United States."

The story also notes that pro-lifers have been "slowly but steadily" winning victories in Russia, where the emphasis in the early 1990s was on contraception and abortion. But thanks to activists like Komov, Fr. Maxim Obukhov and Yelena Mizulina, chair of the Duma's Committee on Family, Women and Children, a 2011 law (introduced the day after the first WCF Demographic Summit in Russia) "limits abortion to the first trimester (with the exceptions of rape and threats to the life of the mother) and institutes a mandatory waiting period of two to seven days."

The Nation further notes that protection of the unborn "will be high on the agenda at the WCF's 2014 Congress in Moscow in September," where Mizulina will participate in a special WCF parliamentary forum in the Duma.

World Congress of Families Managing Director Larry Jacobs observes: "The story makes no mention of Russia's disastrously low fertility rate of 1.5 children per woman—2.1 is needed just to replace current population, in what is the world's largest country with a land area that spans 16 time zones. Consequently, Russia could lose 30 million people by mid-point in this century. In addition to the moral and human rights aspects of abortion, this is a huge incentive for Russians to think seriously about what it will take to reverse their nation's demographic slide."

World Congress of Families held the world's first Demographic Summit in Moscow in 2011, at the Russian State Social University, which attracted over 500 scholars, researchers, parliamentarians, and activists. The following year, it joined with Ulyanovsk Governor Sergey Morozov to hold a second demographic summit in that state's capital city. Alexey Komov took the lead in organizing both conferences.

Jacobs continued, "The headline of The Nation's story claims that Evangelicals have spurred the pro-family movement in Russia. But World Congress of Families is no more Evangelical than it is Catholic. The Congress is an alliance of Believers and non-believers that spans the religious spectrum from Catholic to Evangelical to Orthodox to Jewish. Our 40 WCF Partners include leaders of all of these faiths and more that affirm that the natural family is the fundamental unit of society and the key to authentic human rights and a healthy civilization."

The Nation is America's oldest weekly magazine, with a print and online circulation of 160,000. It is widely considered one of the most influential publications of the American left.

World Congress of Families VIII with the theme "Every Child A Gift: Large Families, the Future of Humanity" will be held in Moscow, September 10-12, 2014. The opening session of WCF VIII will be in the Congress Hall of the Kremlin Palace. A special WCF parliamentary session will also be held in the Russian Duma and a special scientific forum at Lomonosov Moscow State University. The closing ceremony will be held at Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral—the tallest Orthodox Cathedral in the world.

For more information visit the Russian websites at and