The messenger logo

Patriarch lobbies for abortion ban

By Salome Modebadze
Tuesday, May 7
Abortion is the greatest crime that takes place in almost every family, Georgian Patriarch Ilia II said in his traditional Pascal Epistle. He is concerned that the annual number of abortions in Georgia based on official figures will reach 36, 000 soon.

Ilia II said the state should adopt legislation banning abortion, but also consider exceptions. He said sterility, early childbirth, deterioration of health and psychical damage are among the consequences of abortion. “This is why there are so many separated couples, still-born babies and increased child mortality in Georgia,” stressing this is not only a crime of those particular families, but the state as a whole.

Asking potential parents to hesitate from committing “a terrible sin” for economic reasons, His Holiness said if they cannot look after their future children, the church will take that responsibility. According to Ilia II, it does not matter how old the embryo is, it has the same sense of pain as an adult.

Explaining that abortion represents the “terrible murder” of “a feeble and innocent human being,” Ilia II said that the doctor is also a participant in this crime. Abortion has been banned since ancient times, he said in his Epistle, and like various other countries, abortion is legalized and even encouraged via mass media and liberal ideology.

In response to the Patriarch’s appeal, Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili said only that abortion cannot define demographic situation in the country. Ivanishvili said he will also participate in discussions over the possible legislative changes against abortion. However, he said the state should ensure better living conditions for the families so that they could have enough resources to keep babies.

Chairman of Parliamentary Healthcare Committee, Dimitri Khundadze, said the ban on abortion may encourage unregistered abortion, which will threaten the lives of many women. However, Khundadze said he supports the idea of restricting gender-based “selective” abortion.

Abortion has been legalized in Georgia since 1995 but it can only be done at licensed medical institutions if the length of pregnancy does not exceed 12 weeks.

Even though no abortion procedures take place in Davit Gagua’s clinic due to moral principles, he worried that pregnant women often find alternative places. Stressing that abortion is hard not only for the patients but doctors as well. Gagua said each couple should plan their family lives in a relevant way thus avoid both undesirable pregnancy and the lethal consequences of abortion.

In the Pascal Epistle, Ilia II discouraged egoism, calling it the “main enemy” of every person and stressed that the viewpoints in a person much depend on the system of public values in the country which is equally based on the state and faith.