Pregnancy termination became legal for the first time in the Soviet Union, on November 18th, 1920. After the Bolshevik Revolution, Lenin implemented his previous directives: “the unconditional requirement to abolish all legislation which forbids abortion”. It is important to know that at the time there were laws protecting life throughout Europe.
The second European leader who made abortion legal was Adolf Hitler. As he was trying to create a “superior race”, untainted and biologically strong, in 1933 he approved and legalized the killing of unborn German children who had – or were at high risk of having – birth defects. One shoud add that members of Bundestag, the German Parliament, imposed severe legal restrictions to protect healthy German children, thus aiming to the demographical growth of the “superior race”.
The first mass victims made by Hitler were not German communists, nor Jews, Poles or Gypsies. His first mass victims were unborn German children supposed to suffer of disabilities. After they occupied the Slavic nations, Germans developed the so-called “East Plan”, an extermination program of concquered nations. The plan recommended occupied nations to use contraception and legalize abortion.
The Nazis’ intentions are best explained by a declaration made by Martin Bormann, Hitler’s private secretary and NSDAP (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei – the official name of the Nazi party) chief:
The Slavs are to work for us. Insofar as we do not need them, they may die. … The fertility of the Slavs is undesirable”. And: “When girls and women in the Occupied Territories of the East have abortions, we can only be in favor of it; in any case we should not oppose it. The Führer belives that we should authorize the development in a thriving trade in contraceptives. We are not interested in seeing the non-German population multiply.
–McGovern, James (1968). Martin Bormann. New York: William Morrow & Company; NCA II. Office of the United States Chief of Counsel for Prosecution of Axis Criminality. Nazi Conspiracy and Agression, Volume II. 1946; Harvest of Hate, 1954, pp. 273-4.
Legalizing abortion in Poland
Legally, abortion became fully allowed on Polish territory on October 19th, 1941. The period was called “abortion acquisition”.
While authorities permitted Polish women to unresctrictively kill their unborn babies, the punishment for killing a German unborn baby was raised, up to capital punishment in certain cases.
Adolf Hitler disclosed his favorable attitude towards abortion as an instrumental method in controlling conquered nations:
In view of the large families of the native population, it could only suit us if girls and women there had as many abortions as possible.
He also threatened to
personally shoot “any such idiot” who “tried to put into practice” the order that abortion and contraceptives should be illegal in Poland
– Alexander Dallin, German Rule in Russia,1941-1945 (London, 1957),141f. Clarissa Henry and Marc Hillel, _Of Pure Blood_, Trans. Eric Mossbacher (New York, 1976), 148. Ihor Kamenetsky, “German Lebensraum Policy in Eastern Europe During World War II” (Ph.D. dissertation, Univ. of Ill., 1957) (Ann Arbor, MI: University Microfilm, # 25,236), 172-73, Ihor Kamenetsky, _Secret Nazi Plans for Eastern Europe_ (New York, 1961), 143, Joachim C. Fest, _Hitler_ (New York, 1975), 683-84.