MOSCOW, March 27 (RAPSI) - Russia's children’s rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov backed a bill requiring medical centers to tell parents of girls who are minors they want to have an abortion.

The bill was proposed by the legislative assembly of the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Area in western Siberia and submitted to the lower house of parliament, the State Duma.

Under the current law, underage girls have the right to decide this issue upon turning 15.

Astakhov supports the bill, arguing that a 15 year old girl is still a child. Parents must be encouraged to more closely monitor their daughters’ health and to explain the facts of life to them at the appropriate time. This is a reasonable precaution, the ombudsman said.

His press office also said the MPs believe that girls should not be considered fully independent until they come of age, and that their parents must be informed about their abortion plans because they could influence their daughters’ decisions.

Astakhov said that the number of abortions performed on underage girls had decreased since 2009 but “it would be premature to say that we have settled this problem.”