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MINSK -- The number of abortions carried out in Belarus has dropped drastically in the last 14 years, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Alena Kukharevich, the deputy chief of the Belarusian Statistics Department, said that 42,000 abortions were performed in the country last year, which is 39 percent of the number of births.

But Kukharevich said last year's total is far lower than in recent years. For instance, she said in 1995 the number of abortions in Belarus was about double the number of births.

Kukharevich also said the number of children born out of wedlock in the country has risen in comparison with the 1990s. She said some 8.5 percent of Belarusian children were born to unmarried mothers in 1990, while in 2008 the number of such children was 20.1 percent.
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