A repost from 2008. What happens when the Government meddles. If the Cons and their fundy base had their way, contraception would be next. Bet on it.
A true story. Of extreme caution.
In Romania under dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, Decree 770 outlawed abortion and contraception for almost all women of childbearing age. Ceausescu needed a large and robust generation of Romanian workers to make Romania competitive industrially and economically. Breeding became a duty to the state.
Prior to Decree 770 Romania had a relatively liberal abortion policy, where from 1957 a first-trimester abortion could be performed legally in a hospital. This was enacted "to protect women's health and to support reproductive self-determination." All that changed in with Ceausescu's rise to power. Link
From 1966 onward, procreation became a civic duty for all fertile Romanian women. As encouragement, Ceausescu bestowed extraordinary titles upon "dutiful," childbearing women — "Heroine Mother" for having 10 or more children, "Maternal Glory" for having seven to nine children, and the "Maternity Medal" for having five or six children. Between 1967 and 1972, more than two million "children of the decree" were born.
...men at every level of government became obsessed with the date of a
woman's last menstrual period. In factories, women were rounded up for
surprise gynecological exams. The government levied a special tax on
childless couples and unmarried citizens over age 25. All miscarriages
were investigated. Romania was, as one writer later put it, "an
anti-abortion police state."
One of the consequences of this draconian control of the reproductive lives of women was a 600% increase in the number of women dying from underground illegal abortions. When you have no access to contraception or abortion and you are desperate to end a pregnancy, you do what you have to do. Tens of thousands of women died. I'll venture a guess that most on the anti-abortion side of the issue don't really care about that, thinking that they probably deserved it.
But what about those who didn't have illegal abortions?
Nicolae Ceausescu was executed during a coup in 1989. Within 3 days Decree 770 was gone. And then the world got a glimpse of the thousands and thousands of orphans. Actually, not all of the children were technically orphans. Many were left in state care by desperately poor families who simply couldn't afford another mouth to feed, yet were forced by Ceausescu to have more children. How many? It's hard to say exactly - some estimate up to 300,000 orphans in state care. This was the clearest set of statistics I could find.
According to statistics issued by the National Authority for Child Protection and Adoption (NACPA), in 1990 there were 47,405 children in social care institutions of whom 8,558 were in nurseries, 25,870 in orphanages and 6,919 in specialised units for children with disabilities.
The official figures for institutionalised children grew until 1994 to 52,986 but since 1998, efforts have been made to improve the situation (alternative forms of family type protection and measures adopted to prevent institutionalisation and abandonment).
As a result, the number of children in institutions (ie orphans) was said to be 44,725. At the end of 2000 when total responsibility for child care was transferred to the NAPCA the number of children protected in public organizations was reported as 53,335.
(This figure included children in institutions for people with disabilities, units specialising in dystrophic patients, neuro-psycho-motor recovery and rehabilitation, or for children infected with HIV/AIDS as well as units protecting children in a residential system within special education institutions.)
However, in November 2001, the European Commission, in its report on Romania's progress towards accession, reported that of 129,296 children in need of special protection, nearly 78,000 were living in residential care.
Ceausescu was not a touchy-feely guy. There was no attempt made in the institutions to raise these warehoused children. There was no psychology or social work. I'm sure he assumed that these institutionalized children would grow up and be good factory workers and citizens. Even if they were restrained, malnourished, unloved, and in many cases, physically and sexually abused.
From a 2006 NYT article:
Writing in a report to be released today, just days before the European Union issues its final assessment on whether Romania has met human rights and other membership standards, researchers described an eerie silence in a ward where 65 abandoned children were housed, because "children who do not receive attention when they cry learn to stop crying."
In an adult psychiatric hospital, investigators found some children wrapped head to toe in sheets used as full-body restraints. When the staff agreed to remove the sheet on a 17-year-old girl, the report states, "her skin came off with the sheet, leaving a raw open wound beneath it."
"It was the most horrible thing I've ever seen in 13 years of doing this work," said Eric Rosenthal, executive director of Mental Disability Rights International, a Washington-based group, and the co-author of the report.
These children were BORN. Unwanted, with parents unable to prevent their conception, unable to safely end the pregnancy, and then unable or unwilling to care for them. Put into state care in deplorable conditions. Neglected, sometimes abused, sometimes "trafficked" into prostitution. Thrown away. Many unable to form permanent attachments or bonds to other people. Thousands were adopted by Western families, with mixed results, dependent largely on the age of the child when it was adopted and how long it had been institutionalized. Because child trafficking became such a huge problem, the Romanian government banned international adoptions in 2001.
Things appear now to be getting better for Romania's orphans and women, although access to affordable fertility control is still low. But the fact remains that Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu's monstrous control over the reproductive lives of women resulted in a lost generation of an estimated 100,000 - 300,000 abandoned children, and tens of thousands of dead women.
Today is recognized by some as the International Day of the Unborn Child. They will celebrate all the clumps of cells not yet attached to a uterus. They will write tomes (no different from any other day, for most of them) dedicated to the anonymous fetuses of women they don't even know and certainly don't give a rip about. They'll fantasize that if only each woman would realize the miracle of life, once they look at that ultrasound photo and have the shape of their baby pointed out to them, they'll fall instantly in love and forget about their crack addiction, paranoid schizophrenia, abusive partner, or 7 already-born children and depleted bank account and want. that. baby. Or if not, then give birth to it and give it away to another woman to raise. Never mind the psychological devastation to birth mother and child that happens in a lot of cases.
They'll wax poetic about the joys of pregnancy and birth, glossing over the risks. They may talk about the eeeevil of birth control and how the pill causes abortion (NOT true). They may toss around blatant lies like "abortion causes breast cancer". They'll collect funds for billboards that grossly misrepresent late-term abortion in Canada as something women just up and decide to do one day because they have a party coming up that they'd rather attend.
Mostly they'll congratulate themselves for their smug superiority in judging women and families that they do not know and do not care about, because of course they know what's right for them. And what's not right, in their superior judgement, is birth control or pregnancy termination, no matter the circumstances. If anti-abortion factions have their way in outlawing abortion and birth control, the result will be akin to Ceausescu's Romania. Thousands of wives, sisters, cousins, mothers and friends - dead. Hundreds of thousands of unwanted children, born, and then thrown away.
I will not stand for someone else dictating what is best for me, my family, and my body.