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© AFP 2013 / Peter Muhly

Most Russians support sex ed, right to abortion – poll

by RIA Novosti at 02/12/2013 15:28

Most Russians believe schools should offer sex education lessons, according to a new survey conducted by the independent Levada Center.

Russian schools do not include sex education as a systemic part of the curriculum, which is considered a major factor in the failure to curb the AIDS epidemic that has raged in Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Twenty-four percent of respondents said sex ed was “definitely necessary,” while another 40 percent said it was “probably necessary.”

Eighteen percent thought it was probably not necessary, and seven percent said it was “definitely not necessary,” according to the poll published Monday.

The findings of the survey appear to go against the current of the mood of growing conservatism promoted most actively by the Orthodox Church, which has spoken out in opposition to sex education.

Children’s ombudsman Pavel Astakhov said in September that he did not think that teenagers should be taught about sexual health in school and argued that Russian literature is “the best sex education there is.”

The Levada survey also covered attitudes to abortion. Russia had the highest abortion rate in the world out of all the countries for which data was available in the UN’s World Abortion Policies 2013 study.

A little more than half of the people polled in the survey said they opposed a complete ban on abortion, while a total of 28 percent said they agreed with the statement that abortion was legalized murder and should never be allowed under any circumstances.

On the thorny issue of surrogate motherhood, which controversial lawmaker Yelena Mizulina advocated banning in Russia last month on the grounds that it “threatens mankind with extinction,” 50 percent of those polled said they thought surrogacy was acceptable, while 34 percent disagreed.

Belying Russia’s decades-long lack of population growth, 14 percent of respondents said that people should have "as many children as God gave them,” without resorting to contraception or abortion, while 77 percent advocated family planning.

The poll was carried out on November 15-18 among 1,603 people in 45 regions of the сountry.

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