A region in Russia banned abortion for a day on Wednesday to commemorate the Feast of the Holy Innocents.
The Russian Orthodox diocese in the city of Yaroslavl declared January 11 a “day of silence without abortions”, and said it was supported by the local health department.
A statement on the diocese’s website read: “The event is dedicated to the memory of Bethlehem children slaughtered by King Herod, who wanted to kill the newborn infant Christ. On this day it is forbidden to carry out abortions in all state medical institutions in Yaroslavl Region.”
Russia has the second highest abortion rate in the world, after China: in 2015, there were 930,000 abortions performed in the country — which excludes abortions performed outside the medical system.
Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, supported a campaign last year calling for a total ban on abortion.