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Georgian Lawmakers To Debate Abortion Ban After Patriarch's Plea

Infants cry during a mass baptism ceremony in Tbilisi in 2012.
TBILISI -- Georgia's parliament is expected to begin debating a ban on abortion after the Georgian Orthodox Church's patriarch called for the procedure to be made illegal.

The chairman of the parliament's Health and Social Protection Committee, Dmitri Khundadze, told journalists on May 6 that an immediate and complete ban might lead to an increase in illegal abortions, which can have deadly results for the mother.

He said he was in favor of first banning selective abortions.

In his Easter Sunday address, Georgian Patriarch Iliya II called on the government to ban all abortions, labeling them "murders of innocent children both by mothers and doctors."

Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili said that the number of abortions also can be decreased by improving social and economic conditions for the average Georgian family.