Natalia Tsertsvadze, Gynecologist, Doctor of Medical Science, Tbilisi

„I have been in the field of medicine since I graduated First Medical Institute in Moscow. I worked as head of the Gynecology Department at Maternity House N26 (Moscow) until I moved to Tbilisi together with my family after the civil war. I was appointed head of the Maternity Welfare Center in the Gldani district. I have worked as a gynecologist since 1970. I have also worked in the field of family planning.

It is widely held that an abortion ban (until recently abortion was prohibited in several countries and is still illegal in several countries of Europe) may affect birth rates. In fact, making the procedure illegal has often caused criminal abortions and women’s health issues, including, maternal death, uterine perforation and future infertility, because this procedure are performed by unqualified personnel in inadequate conditions – often in a residential apartment or illegal medical facility, without considering indications and contra indications or observing any sanitary standards. Moreover, they use for the procedure household items, ficus leaves, catheters, medications or tinctures of poisonous herbs etc.

Except for damage to health, the risk of “getting rid of” children born as a result of undesirable pregnancy increases. Abortion may cause giving up a child for adoption illegally or may even endanger the life of a newborn baby. The state sometimes bans abortion to contribute to demographic growth.

As a representative of the medical sphere, I am against prohibiting abortion in the first place because prohibition is never solution. Prohibition does not lead to good results. I think that demographic growth should be achieved through economic growth rather than the imposition of restrictions. I think the state should start from setting up working groups (especially in regions), which will provide more information to women on contraceptives because sex education is an important part of right upbringing of children.

Components of sex education and contraceptives should be introduced into the general education system and parents should get both theoretical and psychological training to avoid gynecologic diseases and undesirable pregnancy. Children should get information first from their parents and then from schools.
Unfortunately our public has been late to get this education. In our reality, adolescents face taboo from their families in discussing sexual topics. Many parents consider studying people’s anatomy and sexual education to be “lewdness” and “devil’s temptation”. It is also clear where this comes from. People thinking in this way fight with teachers at school when they teach children delicate details of anatomy.

I think the intervention of the state here is necessary. Sex education should be introduced in all institutions, starting from the education system and media ending with the church.“