The late Romanian communist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu criminalized abortion in 1966 in an attempt to raise a declining birth rate in his country. Among his legacies were orphanages of unwanted children and the deaths of thousands of Romanian women who suffered complications from illegal abortions. After Ceaușescu was toppled in 1989, abortions were legalized, and millions of abortions were performed in Romanian hospitals the following year. As increasingly restrictive abortion legislation is passed across America, listen to this segment from June 6, 1995 to understand how such restrictions have impacted women and societies in the past. Former BBC World Service reporter Tom Whitehouse brought us the story from Bucharest.
Special thanks to the WBEZ Archives Team for cataloging 25 years of Worldview and making this segment possible.