Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law banning advertisements for abortion, a move activists say will infringe on the reproductive rights of women.

Mr Putin has made stemming a decline in population a priority during his 14 years in power.

The Russian President has also struck a conservative tone in his new term, praising what he descrbes as traditional values and holding up the Russian Orthodox Church as a moral guide.

Mr Putin has drawn fire from the West earlier this year after introducing a law that critics say discriminates against homosexuals.

Wider availability of contraception and a resurgence of religion after the 1991 Soviet collapse have reduced Russia's abortion rate.

Despite this the abortion rate remains among the highest in the world and termination is regarded as a top method of birth control.

The government has funded advertising campaigns and offered financial incentives for couples to have multiple children.

Women's rights activist Olgerta Kharitonova. has said that the law banning advertising "is not the beginning of the restriction of women's (reproductive) rights, but rather the continuation of a process begun in 2011."

Ms Kharitonova was referring to legislation that barred abortions after the 12th week of pregnancy in most cases and also introduced a waiting period of at least 48 hours.

A further proposal submitted to lawmakers recently would prohibit the coverage of abortion under health insurance.