A recent new York Times article (“Russians Adopt U.S. tactics In Opposing Abortion“) mischaracterizes the upcoming Moscow Demographic Summit: The Family and The Future of Humankind – June 29-30 a the Russian State Social University – as “an international anti-abortion meeting.”
World Congress of Families Managing Director Larry Jacobs, who was mentioned in The Times’ story twice, set the record straight: “While it’s true that World Congress of Families is uncompromisingly pro-life, as part of our natural family agenda, the Moscow Demographic Summit is first and foremost about the dramatic worldwide decline of birthrates, and only secondarily about abortion. Our goals are to analyze the phenomenon, examine how we reached this crisis and suggest solutions to what could be the greatest challenge confronting humanity in this century.”
Jacobs continued, “While abortion has played an undeniable role in this tragedy, it’s far from the only factor. Late marriage, cohabitation and the culturally induced desire for small families are among the many factors which have led to a 50% decline in birthrates worldwide since the late 1960s. While pro-life spokesmen (Russian and international) will play a prominent role in the Summit, so too will demographers, economists, sociologists, authors, researchers and political and religious leaders, whose primary concern lies in other areas.”
In discussing growing Russian opposition to abortion on demand, The New York Times also failed to note the grim reality the nation faces: It’s birthrate is barely 1.2 (children per woman) with a birthrate of 2.1 needed just to replace current population. It’s been estimated that in Russia today there are 4 million abortions annually and only 1.7 million live births. “This is national suicide by ‘choice.’” Jacobs comments.
The Summit has been endorsed by Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church. In a message to delegates, Patriarch Kirill noted that the purpose of the Summit is “to defend traditional family values and to analyze the world’s demographic problems.”
Click here for the full text of Patriarch Kirill’s letter to Summit participants.