Which legalized abortion in the Soviet Union.
During the last decade the number of women who terminate their pregnancy prematurely increased both with us and abroad.
The legislation of all countries struggles against this evil by punishing both the woman who is guilty of abortion and the operating physician.
This method of struggle has been ineffectual. Abortions were necessarily made in secret and the women very often became the victim of mercenary ignorant persons who traded in this secret operation.
As a result, 50% of women fell ill of infections after abortions and 4% of them died.
The workers’ and peasants’ Government realizing the dangers of such a situation has undertaken a campaign against secret abortions among working women.
It foresees that this phenomenon will gradually disappear with the building of socialism.
But until now the surviving traditions of the past and the heavy economic conditions of the present compel a good many women to have recourse to this operation. The People’s Commissariat of Health and the People’s Commissariat of Justice are convinced that methods of repression are completely useless in this case.
In order to preserve the health of women and the interests of the race from ignorant and greedy quacks these two commissariats decree:
(1) The operation know as abortion may be lawfully performed free of charge in Soviet hospitals where the conditions guarantee a maximum of injury.
(2) All persons who are not licensed doctors are strictly prohibited from performing abortions.
(3) The midwife guilty of performing this operation is deprived of the right of practice and is liable to punishment by the People’s Courts of Justice.
(4) The physician performing abortion in the course of his private practice with a mercenary purpose is liable to punishment by the People’s Courts of Justice.
The performance of abortion with the consent of the mother but by persons without medical training or by persons with this training but in insanitary surroundings is punished by a forfeiting of liberty or by compulsory labour of a year or by a fine up to a sum of 600 roubles.
If this operation was performed under the above mentioned conditions but as a trade or without the consent of the mother or has caused her death it is punished by forfeiting of liberty for a term of not more than five years.
The Penal Code of Laws allows every woman to resort to abortion but she must first pass through a consultation for women where she is told whether there is any contraindication to abortion for her. The physician of the consultation having taken into consideration the social and household conditions of the applicant tries to persuade her to give up abortion and he frequently succeeds in doing so.
Abortion is permitted only during the first three months of pregnancy.
1. Abortion, in view of the undeniable harm which it causes to health, is forbidden, whether in hospitals or in special nursing homes, or in the private houses of doctors or pregnant women. Abortion may be induced only when continuation of the pregnancy puts the pregnant woman’s life in danger or threatens to cause serious injury to her health, or else in cases of severe hereditary diseases of the parents, and then it may only be effected in hospitals and in maternity homes.
2. If an abortion is performed outside a hospital, or in a hospital but in contravention of the above, the doctor who has performed the operation is liable to a term of imprisonment of between one year and two years. If an abortion is performed in unhygienic surroundings, or by a person who is not medically qualified, the punishment shall not be less then three years detention.
3. Where the woman is induced by some other person to undergo abortion, that person shall suffer detention for two years.
4. Pregnant women who undergo abortion in contravention of the above, shall be punished by public reprimand, and, if the offence is repeated, by a fine of up to 300 roubles.