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Regular version of the site

Article

The contraceptive revolution in Russia

Демографическое обозрение. 2018. Vol. English selection 2017. P. 86-108.

In the 1960s and 1970s, with the introduction of hormonal contraception, as well as of a new generation of intrauterine contraception, Western countries saw cardinal changes in methods of fertility regulation so significant that the American demographers Ch. Westoff and N. Ryder called them "The contraceptive revolution." By this time, the transition to low fertility in developed countries, as, indeed, in Russia, was completed, and family planning had become a common practice. However, the new technologies significantly increased the effectiveness of birth control, and this change would have important social and demographic consequences. Underestimation of the importance of family planning and underdevelopment of the corresponding services in the USSR and in Russia led to the contraceptive revolution beginning here much later than in the West, not until the post-Soviet years with the arrival of a market economy and information openness. For decades, induced abortion played a key role in the regulation of fertility, and only in the 1990s did modern methods of contraception become widespread and the unfavorable ratio of abortions to births begin to change for the better. The article describes the composition of the contraceptive methods used in countries of European culture and of those in Russia, and attempts to explain the difference between them. Based on national representative sample data, an analysis is made of current practice of contraceptive use in Russia. The conclusion is drawn that the contraceptive revolution in Russia is proceeding rather quickly, but without substantial state support.