Nicolae Ceaucescu, head of Romania’s Communist Party in the 1970s, outlawed abortions and birth control in an attempt to breed a workforce strong enough to bring Romania into the industrial world. The end result was not apparent to the rest of the world until 1989 when the Communist Party collapsed into itself and the first pictures of Romanian orphanages were seen by the world.
By outlawing abortions and contraception, Ceaucescu left women no option but to go through with their unwanted pregnancies. The children frequently found their way into institutionalized orphanages where the caregiver to child ratio was an appalling 1:25. The kids were often neglected and had little to no contact or stimulation. In the 1980s, an attempt to pay down Romania’s national debt led to severely restrictive food rationing. This meant that parents, often unable to feed their children, would give them to the state in hopes they would be better taken care of.
Romanian orphans were found homes within Europe and abroad following the 1989 fall of Ceaucescu’s Communist Party. Since then, numerous studies have been done on the children’s development. One study out of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry¹ demonstrated a significant disparity (approximately two standard deviations) in height, weight, and head circumference between Romanian orphans and average children.
The reasoning behind this can be explained with critical periods, which operate very much on a use it or lose it mantra. Numerous connections will form, and during a critical period, the brain will prune off what is unnecessary. Therefore, a child that lacks things like visual stimulation due to cataracts at birth, if left untreated, will never have the same vision as a child that was born with normal eyes. The same goes for the Romanian orphans who lacked adequate stimulation and care.
While it is true that the issues Romanian orphans faced were mostly afforded to a lack of adequate care. This is very much the case now in the United States, with a critical foster care shortage throughout the country. If abortions and birth control were outright banned, as would happen if personhood legislation passed, then the number of unwanted children needing homes would skyrocket while placement opportunities would remain the same, making institutions such as in Romania a necessity.
Furthermore, the cost to the taxpayers of placing a child in foster care while waiting for adoption is anywhere between $30,000 and $100,000 a year per child, depending on the child’s needs. An influx of children needing care, without adequate social infrastructure and funding, would very well result in the same situation the world saw in Romania.
Who cares how much it costs? These are children being murdered at abortion clinics all the time! This isn’t right!
The costs shouldn’t matter, but they do. If there is inadequate funding, it becomes impossible to feed these children, provide adequate medical care, house, clothe, or educate them. What happens to them then? Are they simply dumped out on the streets?
The GOP War on Women is supposedly being waged to save lives but they always neglect the long term problems for the short term political gain. Not very compassionate, is it?
Sign up to have all the AddictingInfo you can handle delivered directly to your email here!
¹Michael Rutter and the English and Romanian Adoptees (ERA) study team (1998). Developmental Catch-up, and Deficit, Following Adoption after Severe Global Early Privation. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 39 , pp 465-476