BUCHAREST, March 15, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com)—Recent data published by the World Health Organization (WHO) show that Romania has the highest abortion rate in Europe – 480 abortions for every 1,000 live births, or is more than twice the EU average. The nation also has one of the highest maternal death rate at 27 deaths per 100,000 live births. Only Albania and Moldova have a higher maternal death rate, at 31 and 32 respectively. Romanian experts tell LifeSiteNews.com both these lamentable statistics are a result of U.S. foreign aid that subsidizes contraception and promotes a skewed idea of “women’s rights.”
The statistics were verified to LifeSiteNews by Bogdan Stanciu, head of the Romanian pro-life, pro-family organization Pro-Vita. Stanciu said the figure corresponds to data from the National Statistics Institute of Romania.
However Stanciu pointed out that that actual abortion numbers may be vastly higher “because of the private medical system, which is of increasing importance in Romania, that does not report almost at all its data [on abortions] to the NSI.” A study by Dr. Mihai Horga, a former Ministry of Health official, showed that in 2000 private clinics carried out 80,000 abortions that were not reported to the government.
NSI data also omit “hormonal abortions,” which Professor Virgil Ancar, head of the Obstetrics-Gynecology Clinics of St. Pantelimon Hospital, estimated make up 30 percent of all abortions.
Larisa Iftime, of the media branch of Pro-Vita, told LifeSiteNews that while part of the devastatingly high abortion rate in the country of 22 million is attributable to the legalization of abortion after the fall of Nicolae Ceaușescu’s Communist regime, an abortion mentality has been established by foreign aid financing of abortion, contraception, and sterilization, and promoting its definition of the “idea of women’s rights.”
“This distorted idea of freedom was promoted by different international pro-abortion organizations, like International Planned Parenthood Federation and [international abortion provider] Marie Stopes, which established their offices in Romania right after 1989. They began to aggressively promote abortion and contraception in our country. Of course, the view of ‘woman’s rights’ was embraced by the secular media and by the liberal intellectual elite.”
Iftime referred to an article she wrote, published by the Population Research Institute, that points squarely at the U.S. government’s foreign aid agency, USAID, as one of the main contributors to the abortion rate in her country.
“What does a dying country like Romania need? More contraceptives and sex ed, according to USAID, which is furiously building up its programs there,” Iftime wrote.
She noted that in 1992, the Societatea de Educatie Contraceptiva si Sexuala (SECS) was established to represent the IPPF in Romania, receiving 70 percent of its budget from USAID.
“The head of SECS, Borbala Koo,” Iftime said, “has been quoted as saying that USAID has spent more money on reproductive health programs in Romania than the [Romanian] government.”
Iftime observed that, “The stated USAID policy in Romania is to ‘increase access to contraception and improve the quality of life,’ obviously because it believes that unrestrained sex is the key to happiness.”
According to the Mediafax Press Agency, USAID has spent $35 million dollars on reproductive health program between 1990 and 2004, a massive sum by Romanian standards.
Iftime explained that the Romanian Ministry of Health subsidizes abortions, but, “because USAID is providing most of the Health Ministry‘s budget for reproductive health programs, it is contributing indirectly, if not directly, to abortion.”
“In state-run clinics an abortion costs only $5. This is a fraction of the cost of an abortion in a private clinic. Moreover, women who receive abortions in state-run clinics are routinely contracepted [sterilized] following the procedure.”
Iftime said that while “both USAID and the Ministry of Health claim wonderful benefits from promoting sex education and contraceptives – a lower abortion rate, lower maternal mortality, a lower rate of sexually transmitted disease,” the unfortunate reality is that, “none of these claims is true.”
“We believe, with Father Paul Marx and others, that contraception leads to abortion,” she stated.
“Statistics show that the increased use of contraceptives has not decreased the number of abortions, but in fact has created more abortions. In 1990, in the turmoil surrounding the collapse of Communism, the number of abortions peaked at 992,880 (three abortions for each birth). Since 1993, the number of abortions has been constant, with official statistics tabulating about 250,000 per year. This is not much lower than Great Britain, which has three times the population of Romania.”
“Contraceptive programs in Romania perpetuate an abortion mentality,” Iftime concluded. “Among the consequences of the relentless promotion of contraceptives and the resulting high abortion rate are the highest maternal mortality rate in Europe.”
According to the CIA World Factbook, Romania’s population has been shrinking since abortion became legal by between 0.15 and 2.74 percent per year. The 2012 population growth rate is -0.26 percent.
“Regarding abortions, Romania is a special case, as it banned abortions in the Communist era,” Iftime told LifeSiteNews. “But let us not forget that Ceausescu was a dictator and his purpose was to have as many people as possible, more work force, a larger maneuvering mass.”
“Ceausescu restricted abortions not because he cared about unborn children or about women,” she explained. Otherwise, we would not have had orphanages full of handicapped and malnourished children, immediately after the revolution in 1989.”
“Also, after the fall of Communism, the idea of freedom went hand in hand with the ‘woman’s rights’ idea,” Iftime said.
The result, the statistics Pro-Vita states, has been a bitter harvest.
Information on the work of pro-life organizations in Romania is available from the Pro-Vita website.