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Toward Freedom: Eastern Europe’s Conservative Crackdown on Reproductive Freedom

By Jake Blumgart

"Across Eastern and Central Europe, as unemployment surges and the European Union dithers, nationalist conservative and far right parties are on the march. Emboldened right-wing leaders are resurrecting debates around abortion and other reproductive services, even in countries like Hungary, one of the first European countries to explicitly legalize abortion.

'There is a very strong pronatalist [anti-choice] current in Central and Eastern Europe and that goes along with nationalist tendencies in many of these countries,' says Johanna Westeson, the European regional director for the Center for Reproductive Rights. 'One of the things that is very visible is the so-called demography argument. Birthrates are very low in Central and Eastern Europe and in an attempt to increase birthrates women’s reproductive rights are being [restricted]'.

Central and Eastern European leaders would do well to note that women in industrialized societies feel more comfortable having children if they know they won’t have to quit their jobs and remain at home. Enabling women to comfortably choose larger families is the way to end the demographic crisis. Restricting, or even banning abortion, will only cause more women to get the procedure illegally, and dangerously."

Read the complete article on the Toward Freedom website >