Woman As Reason: Anti-abortion fanatics yearn to repeat ‘Communist’ Romania’s horrors

June 19, 2024

by Terry Moon

Republicans, frantic to please their anti-abortion fanatic base, are scheming together with them in an anti-democratic frenzy to plot any and every way to stop women from ever having an abortion—even if her life depends on it.

Women’s March 2022 in Washington, DC. Photo: Joe Flood, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

At a time when childbirth in the U.S. is deadlier for women than in any other highly industrialized country, and more so for Black women, the forced birth zealots are—to name only a few of their many actions:

  • attempting to ban IUDs and emergency contraceptives by lying that they are abortifacients—that is, that they cause an abortion. They do not. They work by preventing ovulation, blocking fertilization and/or making it difficult for a fertilized egg to implant in the uterus, so there is never an actual fetus to abort.
  • discussing “sweeping restrictions on private-employer-covered abortions” to “make it vastly more difficult” to travel to a state where abortion is legal. They plan to undercut the power of the federal government, demanding that “employer-sponsored health-care plans ‘should not be allowed to trump states’ ability to protect innocent human life in the womb.’” Forget the “innocent human life” of the women whose wombs they are talking about controlling.
  • threatening to prosecute any who help pregnant women travel to a state where abortion is legal. Attorney General Steve Marshal proclaimed that “Alabama can criminalize Alabama-based conspiracies (sic) to commit abortions elsewhere.” That was ruled unconstitutional—for now. Several Texas counties have empowered Texas citizens to sue anyone who helps a woman obtain an abortion traveling on roads now proclaimed illegal for women seeking abortions.

“Abortion Every Day” blogger Jessica Valenti pointed out another measure of their fanaticism in The New York Times: “The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists even recommends that in cases of dangerous pregnancy complications, like a massive placental abruption, women should be made to labor for up to 24 hours—even if they must be treated with blood transfusions in intensive care—in lieu of being given an abortion, in order to deliver ‘an intact fetal body.’”


“Ceausescu is gone! Berlin greets Romania”, a sign in Berlin, December 1989. Photo: German Federal Archive, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE

How do anti-abortion fanatics who now dominate the Republican Party plan to enforce such draconian laws and ideology? Unfortunately, there is a precedent for this deadly retrogression. Between 1966 and 1989, Nicolae Ceausescu ruled Romania and, in an effort to increase the birthrate, outlawed contraception and abortion for women under 45 unless they already had birthed five children. Contraception vanished from the shelves and doctors stopped prescribing it.

To make sure that pregnant woman carried a fetus to term, according to Wikipedia: “all women were required to be monitored monthly by gynecologists,” with detected pregnancies followed until birth. “The secret police kept a close eye on hospital procedures.” Sex education became propaganda for pregnancy. In an effort to control their own lives, women took to back-alley abortions or trying to abort themselves. “The mortality among pregnant women became the highest in Europe… While the childbed mortality [death during or following childbirth] rate kept declining over the years in neighboring countries, in Romania it increased to more than ten times that of its neighbors.” There, as here, those most severely impacted were the poor.

If Republicans are able to institute their white Christian Nationalist dream of forced pregnancy, no birth control, and now they are going after divorce, these kinds of fascist practices will be imposed on half the U.S. population. The only way to stop pregnant women from traveling to a state where abortion is legal would be to set up checkpoints where every woman of child-bearing age is forced to take a pregnancy test. Or they could, like Ceausescu, force healthcare providers to monitor all pregnant women. Perhaps they could use ankle monitors, or some other more “modern” means of bending women to their fanatical will. This will mean that tens of thousands of women will die, as they did in Romania, as they did in the U.S. before abortion became legal.


As for the children—forced childbirth has proven to be horrible and deadly not only to women but to children as well.

In one sense Ceausescu’s plan worked. The “total fertility rate increased from 1.9 to 3.7”! But neither the state nor their families could meet those children’s needs: schools functioned in shifts with unworkable student to teacher ratios; families were poorer, children were malnourished, some became disabled and there was a shocking rise in child mortality. Many children ended up in orphanages, not because they were parentless, but because their parents could not care for them.

Republicans would do well to understand that, at the time, “Romania was the only east-European communist country with strict anti-abortion and anti-contraception laws…and also the only country whose ruler was violently overthrown and killed at the end of the Cold War.”

If one actually cares about babies and children, then they need to realize that women and others who abort do it for their own lives as well as for their families and the lives of children already born. Legal, free, safe, accessible abortion is good for everyone.

2 thoughts on “Woman As Reason: Anti-abortion fanatics yearn to repeat ‘Communist’ Romania’s horrors

  1. These days you can’t say the white nationalists haven’t warned us: I just heard a Heritage Foundation spokesman, a middle-aged man naturally, calling abortion simply murder. That supports introduction of a bill in South Carolina making execution the sentence for women who have abortions.

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