Lately, we have been finding more and more cases of doctors working in Romanian hospitals who refuse to perform abortions on demand. We have at least 12 hospitals, where only therapeutic abortions take place – county emergency hospitals in Botosani, Satu Mare, Slatina, Vaslui, Drobeta Turnu Severin, Focsani, Craiova and the list continues. In other medical institutions, only some doctors provide this medical service.
History has shown that denial of abortion, or even prohibition by law, will not reduce their number, on the contrary, abortions will continue to be practiced illicitly or in unsafe circumstances.
The Communist regime banned abortions as early as 1948, relegated them in 1957, after the Soviet model, because of the effects on women’s health. In October 1966, Ceausescu gave the 770 decree, which led to a demographic and psychological disaster, to nearly two million “decrees” being born and to numerous women mutilated for life or killed by clandestine abortions.
Working women were regularly and forcefully subjected to gynecological controls and doctors had their wage conditioned by “meeting the quota set by the state”: reaching over 50 checks a day. Sexual education was forbidden and books on human reproduction were classified as state secrets and used only as medical manuals. There were no contraceptives on the market.
Women who refused to have their private life controlled by the regime risked not only prison, but death, either because of the conditions in which the abortion was made, or because the doctors refused to give them the care they needed when they arrived at the hospital in serious condition.
But the effects of this decree do not stop there, they are more complex:
In 1989, the birth rate reached 16 per 1000 inhabitants, but the mortality rate increased to 170 maternal deaths per 100,000 births, that is 10 times higher than the highest rate ever recorded in Europe until then. In 1992, it was estimated that 1 million of the 5.2 million women in Romania could be sterile.
The woman’s right to decide what happens to her own body has been regained with the transition to democracy. Under Article 201 of the Penal Code, women can interrupt pregnancy on-demand within 14 weeks. A refusal from the medical institution is a violation of women’s right to decide whether, at what time and under what conditions they want to become mothers.
Considering the alarming situation in the country, I sent an interpellation to the Ministry of Health requesting answers to the following questions:
What are the reasons why the aforementioned hospitals refused to provide a medical service provided by the law, namely the interruption of on-demand pregnancy?
What measures do you intend to take to ensure that the women’s right to receive this medical service is respected in all medical institutions?
What were the steps taken by the Ministry of Health to investigate these situations and what is their outcome?
According to 173rd Article from the Regulation of the General Assembly:
“The Government and each of its members are required to respond to interpellations within a maximum of two weeks. If it has valid reasons, the Chamber may grant a new term.”
I look forward to the Ministry of Health’s response and, moreover, I hope the measures taken by this Ministry will not in any way affect women rights in Romania.
You can follow the answers to questions / interpellations directly on my website HERE and on the General Assembly website, HERE.