Romania and The Republic of Moldova’s March for Life 2016 – “Pro-Life, Pro-Woman, Pro-Family”

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(Press Release – Feb. 29th, 2016) March 2016 has been declared as The Pro-Life Month 2016 –Pro-Life, Pro-Woman, Pro-Family” in Romania and The Republic of Moldova. This series of events will culminate with The March for Life 2016 – “Pro-Life, Pro-Woman, Pro-Family”, organized Saturday, on March 26th.

The message we wish to send by our choice of this year’s theme – “Pro-Life, Pro-Woman, Pro-Family” – is that the welfare of the pregnant woman is not opposed to the welfare of the baby she is carrying: actually, these two build one upon the other. Also, family, as well as society, have a lot to gain from supporting all women during pregnancy and especially those women who go through a pregnancy crisis.

For six decades such support has badly missed nationwide.

Neither through the Decree 463/1957, which liberalized abortion on demand, nor through the Decree 770/01.10.1966, which restricted abortion, did the Romanian communist regime act for the welfare of the woman or that of the child. Both laws only enforced communist pro-abortion ideology. The 1966 law was only designed to stop the downward trend of natality, which meant less work force. In 1965, the year before abortion restrictions came in force, 1,115,000 children had been aborted and only 278,362 born alive; it was the year when Romania had the highest abortion rate for every thousand women ever registered in the history of the world: 252 abortions/1,000 women.

The model of communist Romania was the former USSR (The Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics), the first state in the world which made abortion on demand legal – in 1920 –, then restricted it – in 1936 –, because population decreased, then lifted again the restrictions – in 1955. Romania and other neighbouring Communist states (Poland and Bulgaria in 1956 and Checkoslovakia in 1957) followed this example and made abortion on demand legal immediately afterwards. That is why Western scholars have talked about an “abortion culture” in the communist states.

Click here to download abortion statistics from Romania, The Republic of Moldova and worldwide

This abortion culture has determined 23 of them to rank among the top 25 countries by percentage of abortions relative to current population, while the corresponding percentage at global level ranks them on the 46th place.

In 2008, 18 years after the fall of the communist regime in Eastern Europe, 4 years after joining NATO and one year after accessing the EU:

  • this region is still on the first place among all the regions of the world, with an abortion rate of 43/1,000 women, much higher than that registered in other Euro‑Atlantic regions: 12/1,000 in Western Europe, 17/1,000 in Northern Europe, 18/1,000 in Southern Europe and 19/1,000 in Northern America [1];
  • in Romania, the percentage of abortions relative to births is the highest in Europe: 578 abortions for 1,000 births, while the EU avergae rate is of 228.

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Freedom regained after the December 1989 Revolution has never been used to support the most vulnerable, but it was turned into irresponsibility towards the most vulnerable. Proof of the Romanian state and society’s failure to protect their citizens after 1989 has been the Romanians’ massive migration outside the country in search of conditions they weren’t provided inside. Irresponsiblity towards children, which led to their massive institutionalization in inhuman conditions before 1989 has continued after 1989 by refusing to assume responsiblity towards our unborn children: in 1990 Romanians aborted 992,265 children.

Since 1958, when abortion was liberalized, and up to present, its incidence has been higher here than in Western countries, regardless of political regime – and even regardless of the legal regime of abortion itself! That explains why:

  • at global level, after Russia, Romania has the second highest percentage of abortions relative to current population (116,5%);
  • the national average in Romania is of three abortions for each woman, while in Western countries there is at most one abortion for each woman.

Thus, in Romania, whose actual population numbers approximately 19,908,574 inhabitants [2], 22,638,755 abortions have been registered only in public hospitals between 1958 and 2014 (the last year with available data):

  • 7,521,100 abortions during the liberalization period 1958–1966 (9 years);
  • 7,298,402 abortions during the restriction period 1967–1989 (24 years);
  • 7,819,253 abortions during the liberalization period 1990–2014 (25 years).

At present there are 220 abortions daily only in public hospitals.

To these data one should add abortions made in private clinics, which are not reported, and abortions had by young and mature persons working abroad, who represent a big part of Romania’s population of fertile age; if we could add these data, which we don’t have, the statistics of abortions for Romania’s population may look double the actual numbers.

Practically, during the latest six decades, millions of women who faced pregnancy crisis did not have any real chances to solve the problems that generated it and millions of men involved in pregnancy crises have preferred to give up their manly duty to support the woman and the child.

In the Republic of Moldova, whose actual population is of approximately 3,600,000, statistics show that 2,098,099 abortions have been made between 1960 and 2014. For this country, too, the real statistics should be updated with the abortions had by young and mature persons working abroad.

Click here to download abortion statistics from Romania, The Republic of Moldova and worldwide

The theme “Pro-Life, Pro-Woman, Pro-Family”

If Romanians see themselves and are also seen by others like people who help each other in need, why this support, this solidarity cannot also be seen when it comes to the woman in pregnancy crisis?

The main reasons why society doesn’t support the woman in pregnancy crisis is the preconception that being pro-life is being anti-woman; also, the preconception that those who favour chosing life for the child are actually waging war against women, while abortions supporters are those who protect the women. The abortion approach during communism is to blame for these preconceptions. Legal restrictions on abortion during communism were not meant to be pro-life, they only provided for the state’s political interest: they were meant neither to support the woman in crisis, nor to protect the unborn; they were only meant to increase demographic indicators in order to cater for the economic needs of the state. A very serious consequence of this kind of law were the abandoned children.

The huge number of abandoned and institutionalized children during the communist regime was a direct consequence of the communist dictatorship. Before the communist regime in Romania, the community felt responsible towards the children who weren’t cared for by their natural family. Adopted children were named “soul children” and did not suffer any stygma.

The theme “Pro-Life, Pro-Woman, Pro-Family” has been inspired by the theme of the Washington, DC March for Life 2016: “Pro-life and pro-woman go hand in hand”. Pro-life organizations from România and The Republic of Moldova felt like adding a third term, “Pro-Family”, in order to emphasize that family is the only natural environment nurturing both the welfare of the child and the welfare of the woman and also that a child born outside a family does not prevent a family being set up – on the contrary, it is always the first step towards it.

This theme clearly states that whoever says the pro-life movement doesn’t care about the woman and that abortion solves women’s problems is wrong. In fact, the pro-life movement focuses on both woman and child, while abortion, in most cases is an exploitation of the woman for the sake of personal comfort, because of a double irresponsibility: the man’s and society’s. That is why abortion has been named “the ultimate exploitation of women” by Alice Paul, famous activist for women’s rights [3].

This theme’s choice also states what experience has shown in many real cases: the child’s birth is in the best interest of the woman, while abortion on demand only aggravates and perpetuates different problems, to which it adds newer ones. Chosing life for her baby will actually empower the woman and grant her a more accomplished future – at least through her child’s love; abortion hurts both the woman and her long-term future.

Experience has shown indeed that an unexpected and unwanted pregnancy can turn into a great chance for the woman, for her family or future family and for society if the woman is supported instead of being abandoned and stygmatized.

It was not by accident that Norma McCorvey and Sandra Cano, the two women used to serve the purpose of the lawsuits that led in 1973 to the liberalization of abortion in the US have subsequently become pro-life. Long-term experience confirms that whoever is pro-woman is also pro-life and whoever is pro-life is also pro-woman.

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A woman in pregnancy crisis is faced with hardships difficult to imagine if you have never been through anything like that or have never carefully studied that situation. The turmoil and drama a woman lives before chosing abortion are very well described by American pro-life author Frederica Mathewes-Green: “No one wants an abortion as she wants an ice-cream cone or a Porsche. She wants an abortion as an animal, caught in a trap, wants to gnaw off its own leg”.

For example, especially in rural areas – although not exclusively –, children conceived out of wedlock are most often aborted, the main reason being the mother’s fear of stygma. Of course, ideally, a child needs to be conceived and born in the loving and secure atmosphere of a family, but lack of a family does not justify abortion by any means. Abortion does not cancel, but multiplies the negative consequences of the situation which has generated the pregnancy crisis.

That is why we believe this year’s March for Life theme also emphasizes that it is only natural for men, family and society to support pregnant women by all means.

To illustrate these truths, we shall publish testimony books about the pregnancy crisis: 101 Happy Women Who Have Chosen Life for Their Children and 101 Regretted Abortions.

We need to publish these books for women who will be faced with pregnancy crisis in the future and also for all who ever find themselves in the proximity of such a woman and more often than not have no idea what her crisis really means. We hope these testimonies can help people understand that pregnancy crisis is one of the toughest trials a woman can go through and that we can support her – all the more if we consider ourselves as her family or her friends, if we say that she means something to us.

Click here to download abortion statistics from Romania, The Republic of Moldova and worldwide

Goals

Our objective is not to propose a legal ban on abortion. Our goal is not to pass a law forbidding abortion on demand. What we actually aim for is to raise awareness about:

  • the existence, uniqueness, dignity and value of each human being starting from the moment of conception;
  • different challenging situations (like unexpected and unwanted pregnancy, marital status, economical challenges, detecting a possible health problem of the child) which can all lead to a pregnancy crisis, which is a period of intense turmoil and difficulty for the woman;
  • the fact that not abortion, but support for the woman is the answer to the pregnancy crisis;
  • it is only natural that the child’s father, the extended family, civil society and the whole society support women during pregnancy crisis, before and after they give birth;
  • the fact that a society which supports the mother and her child will also support adopted children, adoptive parents, parents who for reasonable reasons cannot raise their children and want to put them up for adoption, lonely perons, single-parent families, disabled persons, persons who need care, and generally all the vulnerable.

We reiterate this year the proposals communicated by the previous editions of Romania and The Republic of Moldova’s March for Life:

  • to create legal grounds – based on the example of good practice offered by similar laws in the USA, UK, Australia – for the pregnant woman to sign the adoption papers while still pregnant and thus give the child for adoption as soon as she gives birth, with a reasonable change-of-heart moratorium after that [4];
  • granting a state subsidy to the pregnant woman (after 14 weeks of pregnancy, the time limit for an abortion by Romanian law) in order to cover for her special needs at the time of pregnancy.

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The March for Life, The Pro-Life Month, a pro-life attitude and pro-life deeds do not mean condemning those who have had an abortion. They mean stretching out a helping, loving and sorrowful hand. They don’t mean condemning the fathers and mothers who, scared by insecurity, chose to move ahead without the child which they saw as an encumberment in their lives because they felt they could not ensure it the optimum conditions. Instead, being pro-life means offering these people support to keep walking through life.

How many women in pregnancy crisis can resist alone faced with their partner’s violence, with social exclusion, with poverty or the risk of being forced to give up education and career? The answer is self-evident. Therefore, no effort made by us personally, by our family, by our group of friends, by our church, by our state, by today’s world is too much compared to the unique, unrepeatable and priceless stake that each and every human life represents.

This year’s March for Life theme also helps us raise awareness about the need for an institutional form of counseling and support for women in pregnancy crisis, and emphasize the necessity to set up Pregnant Women Support Centers to offer specialized services of counseling and support in pregnancy crisis.

To protect the life of the unborn, their parents’ lives and the future of society, we need not only a pro-life attitude, but a pro-life practice. Being against abortion without offering the whole support a woman needs in order to give birth to her baby is hypocritical and inefficient. Whoever cares about the baby, also cares about the mother and will do everything to help her.

 

Examples of good practice on a large organizational scale can be found in the United States. Understanding that “no woman should ever feel so alone, coerced, or so hopeless that she ends her child’s life through abortion” [5] and that “the answer to a crisis pregnancy is to eliminate the crisis, not the child” [6], the US supporters of Life have tried to help women in pregnancy crisis solve the problems that generated it.

The consequence is that in the US there are over 2,800 pregnancy help centers – almost four times the total number of clinics offering surgical and chemical abortion (approximately 730). Women resorting to these counseling and support services will freely receive everything they need in order to surmount the crisis: psychological, religious, legal counseling, food, a job, a home etc In 2015 alone, the pregnancy help centers in the US have helped more than 300,000 women to chose life for their children!

The March for Life is apolitical and non-confessional, but it welcomes participation from all religions and Christian denominations and from all political parties. In the cities where it cannot be held, people can organize small pro-life events under the umbrella of the Pro-Life Month. Romanians living and working abroad can also join our pro-life effort through such events. The website marsulpentruviata.ro shall soon be updated with information about the local marches.

We kindly ask you to spread word through your websites and social media channels about The Pro-Life Month 2016 and The March for Life 2016 – “Pro-Life, Pro-Woman, Pro-Family”, thus helping our children and women and the whole society.

 

Alexandra Nadane
President
Studenți pentru viață Association
(“Students for Life”)
Romania

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Ioana Picoș
Spokesperson
Romania and The Republic of Moldova’s
March for Life 2016

 

Notes:

[1] Gilda Sedgh, Susheela Singh, Iqbal Shaw, Elizabeth Åhman, Stanley K. Henshaw, Akin Bankole, „Induced abortion: Incidence and trends worldwide from 1995 to 2008”, The Lancet 379.9816 (2012), pp. 625–632.

[2] (Stable) Residing Population on July 1st, 2014. Institutul Național de Statistică, „Anuarul Demografic al României ediția 2015” (National Institute of Statistics, „Demographic Yearbook of Romania, 2015”). Note: Data to be updated.

[3] Alice Paul (1885–1977) was a member of the Suffragette Movement, a feminist and an activist for women’s rights in the US. She was the main coordinator of the campaign which in 1919 led to the adopting the Nineteenth Amendament to the US Constitution, which granted women the right to vote.

[4] Romanian law does not provide for this possibility, because Romania, through the Law no. 138/2011, has ratified the European Convention on the Adoption of Children (Revised), adopted in Strasbourg on November 27th, 2008,which mentions at Art. 5 Para. (5) that the mother can only consent to adoption six weeks after birth at the earliest time.

[5] Jor-El Godsey, actual President of the Heartbeat International network of pregnancy help centers (with over 1,800 affiliated centers in 50 countries)

[6] Jeannie W. French, fonder of the National Women’s Coalition for Life

Addenda
(Click to download)
1.    International statistics
1.1.    Number of officially reported abortions related to country population, between years 1921–2015
1.2.    Chart of officially reported abortions related to country population between years 1921–2015
2.    Romanian statistics
2.1.    Abortions in Romania between years 1958–2014
2.2.    Total county (judets) abortion numbers in Romania, years 1970, 1980, 1989, 1990, and 1995–2014
2.3.    Abortion numbers on age groups in Romania between years 1990–2014
3.    Underreporting of abortion numbers in Romanian statistics
4.    Main legal provisions regulating abortion in Romania
5.    Statistics fort the Republic of Moldova
5.1.    Number of abortions in the Republic of Moldova between years 1995–2014
5.2.    Abortion rate for 100 live births on districts, regions, years, between years 2008–2014
6.   Short history of Romania and The Republic of Moldova’s March for Life

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