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August 23, 2003

Rollback, check that fetus!

Russia restricting 2nd trimester abortions. This isn't a big deal, most abortions happen in the first trimester anyway, and there are still situations where they are allowed. The key though is a hint that the government will start to pull-back on the policy of free & unlimited abortions for women who desire them (rather than need desperately). Russia is going through a demographic implosion-but if abortions begin to be a non-trivial cost, which women will begin to carry the the pregnancies to term because of lack of funds? Which sector of society will continue to seek abortions to limit family size?

So the question is this: Russia wants to reverse its population implosion, but, it might end up doing it by increasing the fertility of the "lower orders?" And yes, I am evil....

Posted by razib at 09:15 PM

But, isn't Russia's population relatively more homogenous than ours. So, a policy restricting abortion may increase the fertility of the lower orders in Russia, but won't necessarily result in dysgenic birth rates comparable to what's going on in the rest of the Western World.

Posted by: R at August 24, 2003 12:49 AM

depends on how you define "homogenous," but yeah, prolly, but even the Russian Federation has a lot of Muslims and even a small Buddhist population....

Posted by: razib at August 24, 2003 12:56 AM

I don't know of one Muslim country that has a below replacement level birth rate. Seriously, does any exist? In other words, the vast bulk of the people utilizing abortions in Russia are probably not Muslim (and likely not Buddhist either) so I doubt those two populations will be affected much.

From article:
"For every 10 births in Russia, there are still nearly 13 abortions."

This stat is unbelieveable. Russia needs to do something, like Sailer would say.

Posted by: R at August 24, 2003 01:37 AM

the buddhists have pretty low birth-rates, and traditionally, in russia they have been lamaists who put 1/3 of their young men into monastaries....

Posted by: razib at August 24, 2003 01:53 AM

btw, a little joke among some muslims i heard, "if you can not proslyetize, procreate!"

Posted by: razib at August 24, 2003 01:54 AM

Tunisia, a country that is predominantly Muslim, has a below replacement fertility rate.

Russia's Muslim population is concentrated in the autonomous population and the Russian population decline may inevitably follow the "indigenization" and "Islamicization" of these Islamic lands east of the Ural and south of the Volga. However the core Russian heartland can never be threatened by demographic decline (Muscovite region). At any rate the Russians, despite their rather wild reputation, are a conservative lot and birth rates will return to former levels with the stabilisation of conditions.

Posted by: Zachary Latif at August 24, 2003 04:28 AM

You must understand that Russia is undergoing economic and democratic transition. Poverty is rife and having children is perceived to be a financial burden.
You have to compare this with the fertility rate in communist Russia aka Soviet Union where perhaps, wealth and food wass more widely distributed and family units were more stable.


Posted by: Andrew at August 24, 2003 08:32 AM

Actually, Russia has a long history of immigration--most of its Jews were descendants of Ukrainians and Belarusians who migrated east, for example. More recently, Russia has taken in huge numbers of immigrants--permanent immigrants, mainly Russophones from Central Asia and the Caucasus but also huge numbers of Caucasians include one million Armenians; labour migrants, mainly from Ukraine and Moldova; and illegals, mainly Chinese and North Koreans.

On top of that is Russia's ethnic diversity--it was 80% ethnic Russian at the end of the Soviet era, and many small minorities were largely Russified, but 10% of 150 million is a lot of people.

Posted by: Randy McDonald at August 24, 2003 11:26 AM

There was a long article in The Atlantic a while ago on Russia, it was not primarily about demographics, but this paragraph did shock me:

"For those who remain. Over the past decade Russia's population has been shrinking by almost a million a year, owing to a plummeting birth rate and a rising number of deaths from alcoholism and violence. Predictions are astonishingly grave: the country could lose a third of its population (now 146 million) by the middle of the century. This does not factor in new scourges—tuberculosis and HIV, in particular, which have been spreading exponentially since 1998. As its population shrinks, Russia will find itself less and less able to face demographic challenges from China. Overpopulation is pushing the Chinese into the Russian Far East—a trend that at present benefits Russia by bringing it trade and small-scale investment but that could someday lead to ethnically based separatism"

The article- http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/2001/05/tayler-p4.htm - was written in 2001 and Russia's fortunes have improved somewhat but even so it is worrying.

Posted by: RF at August 24, 2003 02:18 PM

"Lower orders"?! Come on, you've got to be kidding, right? I think an illiterate Russian peasant is still worth more to the revitalisation of the West than a smug Indian PhD living the high life in Silicon Valley.

Posted by: Rhodie at August 25, 2003 08:50 AM

Ah, so your true colours come out!

Posted by: Sen at August 25, 2003 04:21 PM


What exactly is it about the dreaded "lower orders" that scares you? I'm interested. I'm always curious about people whose highest loyalty is to Microsoft.

Posted by: Rhodie at August 26, 2003 07:49 AM


What exactly is it about "peaceful, high IQ taxpayers" that scares me? Nothing at all, actually. I quite like them. We need more of them. :) Problem is, we're not talking about "peaceful, high IQ taxpayers". We're talking about the "lower orders" and why you fear them. You still haven't answered me.

And what's this rubbish about my harboring a "utopian fantasy of exporting revolution to dozens of countries"? A "Nazi/'white nationalist' revolution"? You're making things up again. Typical.

Posted by: Rhodie at August 27, 2003 09:42 AM