Ceausescu's population policy: a moral or an economic choice between compulsory and voluntary incentivised motherhood?

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Florin Stanica Soare

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to explain why, in 1966, the Romanian leadership adopted a wholly restrictive pronatalist policy, based on the strict limitation of abortion, instead of one based on socioeconomic incentives to families, as suggested by technocrats. Previous literature shows disagreement on whether the choice was motivated by moralistic or economic considerations. In order to find an answer to this question, hundreds of pages of archival material unpublished so far have been analysed, including the minutes of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, statistics, documents identified in the Ministry of Health Archive, and the technical reports that were on the table at the time of the decision. The conclusion of this study, drawn on the basis of these documents, indicates that at the time of 1966, regardless of the suggestions of the technocrats, a decision had already been taken by Ceausescu himself. This decision was influenced directly by economic considerations, namely the wish to obtain the maximum pronatalist effect at a minimum budgetary cost.

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Author Biography

Florin Stanica Soare, University of Bucharest and Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes and the Memory of the Romanian Exile (IICCMER)

FLORIN S. SOARE (born on September 14, 1984). He has a degree in History, master in "Romania in the twentieth centuryâ€, Faculty of History, University of Bucharest, Ph.D in History, University of Bucharest in 2012. Currently he is researcher at the Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes and Memory of Romanian Exile. He is the author of the article Policies of natality in Romania in the period 1966-1989, published in "Dictionary of communism" (coord. Stephane Courtois), IaÈ™i, Polirom, 2008. He published Pronatalist policies of Ceausescu regime. A comparative perspective (vol.1), Polirom, Iasi, 2010 and Pronatalist policies of Ceausescu regime. Institutions and practices (vol.2), Polirom, Iasi, 2011, „Controlling and constraining. The prohibition of abortion in 1980’s Romaniaâ€, in Elena Bărbulescu, People and the State. Divergent Medical Discourses, Cluj-Napoca, Editura Mega, 2011. Domains of interest: power and structure of the Romanian Communist Party, rhetoric and propaganda of communist ideology, social policies initiated by the communist regime, post-communist transition.

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