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Russian activists gather more than 900,000 signatures for anti-abortion bill

Activists also argue in favor of increasing support level for families with children

MOSCOW, August 9. /TASS/. More than 900,000 signatures for legal prohibition of abortions have been gathered by activists of the Russian social movement "Pro-Life", the organization’s president Sergey Chesnokov told TASS ahead of the namesake seventh international festival of social technologies for family values protection that will be held on August 14-17 in Moscow.

"We expect to get a million signatures at the festival. Now we have more than 900,000 signature lists at our disposal and we expect our partners to bring the remaining petitions to the festival. [Our] further actions [will be] to present the signatures to authorities. Signature lists are intended directly for the head of state, first of all, and notifications will be sent to all corresponding entities: the State Duma, the Federation Council and so on. We will discuss all technical aspects, such as the terms and the order for their transfer directly at the festival," he said.

According to organizers, the Pro-Life festival will be attended by more than 500 people from 186 towns from Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Serbia, Lithuania, Italy and Spain. Among the guests are Chairman of the Synodic Department for Church Charity and Social Service, Bishop Pantaleon of Orekhovo-Zuyevo, public authorities, scientists, representatives of social organizations, Russian Orthodox priests, doctors, teachers, reporters, actors and artists. They will work out measures for human life protection since the moment of impregnation and measures for overcoming the demographic crisis.

"The festival has been organized by the namesake social movement ‘Pro-Life.’ The main goal of our event is to attract public attention to the vulnerability of a child before birth. This is the most tender period in the life of each person, and our goal is to do everything to make it as comfortable as possible for both mother and her child," Chesnokov noted.

According to organizers, the forum’s participants also argue in favor of increasing support level for families with children. In particular, the social movement’s signature list contains a point on allocating material help from the federal budget to pregnant women and families with children not less than the living wage for each child. In 2015, the movement launched its own federal program "Saving Life," which provides social help to pregnant women in distress.

Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill supported this initiative in September 2016. He signed the appeal on legal prohibition of abortions in Russia, saying that the church considers abortion a sin and that this position will not change.