I wrote this paper instead of reading the book: “Rampage: The Social Roots of School Shootings” by Katherine Newman.
Counseling women with unwanted pregnancy
Abortion situation in Romania and its effects
Abortion is defined as termination of a pregnancy before birth, resulting in the death of the fetus. Abortion has become one of the most widely debated ethical issues of our time. On one side are the pro-choice supporters, individuals who favor a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion. On the other side are the pro-life advocates, who may oppose abortion, or accept it in extreme circumstances, as when the mother’s life would be threatened by carrying a pregnancy to term, or if in some cases if caused by rape, sex without a woman’s consent. Abortion can be one of the most difficult and most important decisions a woman may have to make, if pregnant. Aborting a fetus is basically terminating a human life in its beginning stages. Some may even consider this on the same level as murder. To agree with abortion is to agree with killing an innocent creature that didn’t ask to be created. Human life is any living entity that has DNA from the species homosapiens. This includes an ovum, spermatozoon, zygote, embryo, fetus, newborn. It also includes an infant, child, adult and elder. Some forms of human life have little or no value, others are the most valuable and precious form of life in the known universe. A growing child inside a woman’s womb is also human life. There are different types of abortion methods. Abortions that occur naturally are known as miscarriages, the rest are induced, that is, intentionally brought on, which can be performed using drugs or surgery.
In 54 countries, 61% of the world population, abortions are legal. In 97 countries, 39% of the world population, abortions are illegal. There are approximately 46 million abortions conducted each year that means 126,000 abortions conducted each day. In the United States there are 1,370,000 abortions that occur naturally according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute; 47% of these abortions are performed on women who have already had one or more abortions.
In Romania after abortion liberalization in 1989, total fertility rate rapidly decreased under the replacement level at 1.6 births/woman between 1990-1993, while the rate of abortion upon request doubled to 3.4 abortions/woman. The number of abortion has currently decreased as result of information and education campaigns and a wider access to contraception methods. The latest study on Reproduction Health in 1996-1999 still show a very low fertility rate of 1.3 births/woman and a rate of abortion upon request of 2.2 abortions / woman. Counseling for young people and families is still needed on family planning and using other contraception methods in order to avoid abortion.
Romania has the highest abortion rate in Europe, with about 75% of all pregnancies ending in abortion. It is currently stated that the main cause for such a dramatic abortion rate is the bad economic situation of the country, which renders women unable to raise a child. However, because of its meaning and the many side effects it produces, abortion cannot be a proper solution for the women who pass through an unwanted pregnancy crisis. Abortion produces deep wounds in the woman’s soul and attacks her fundamental role, that of being mother and bringing new human life into our world. The women, who have abortions, suffer psychical and behavioral effects such as anxiety, breaking of relations with the partner and her family, feelings of guilt and irrecoverable loss, depression, panic, sleep disturbances, suicidal attempts, psychosis, etc. Physical effects are also important: sterility, genital wounds, menstrual disturbances, bleeding, complications in further pregnancies, breast cancer, etc. From the social point of view the result of the huge abortion rate is a dramatic decrease of birth rate and, implicitly, the aging of population and its decrease, which is a serious reason for concern, even for the state authorities.
The association’s general goal is to contribute by all our efforts to decrease the abortion rate in Romania. The religious believe that God is the Creator of life and that all human life, born and unborn, is created in His image. The associations with religious status exists to promote the sanctity of life by providing support to the woman who finds herself in a crisis pregnancy, in the hope that she will carry her baby to term. The pregnant woman has to be properly informed about the new life that is developing in her womb, about fetal development and the complications that can occur from performing an abortion. The woman has the right to be informed.
A crisis pregnancy has far reaching consequences for the mother, the child, the family, and the community. Therefore, the associations are committed to the ongoing development of the services to promote sexual abstinence outside of marriage, to educate our community on sexuality, crisis pregnancy, abortion, and abortion alternatives, and to provide a nurturing environment for women and their families to deal with the effects of a crisis pregnancy or the long-term effects of a previous abortion.
The most important part of associations activity work with pregnant women and girls is to reach out to each with compassion, love and acceptance. They offer loving, personal and confidential help to the pregnant mother, whether she is single or married, regardless of her race, age, financial status or religion. In the last years, a lot of Crisis Pregnancy Centers were opened inside the hospitals. Women are going there for counseling in order to decide to have or not to have an abortion performed. Most of them choose abortion because of despair, so that words are rarely enough to persuade a woman to continue the pregnancy. Practical care is the most efficient way to help them decide, whether it is medical, financial or consisting in covering immediate needs: a home, clothes, medicines, etc… They use the following things for counseling: diagrams and plastic models of fetal development, brochures and books, as well as video films on fetal development and abortion. Inside these centers they: provide free pregnancy tests, offer counseling and alternatives to abortion, counsel as needed with parents, boyfriend, or husband, introduce women to a Gynecologist for good medical care, offer childbirth and breast-feeding classes which the father can also attend. They offer post-abortion counseling through individual or group therapy classes led by professionals. They also educate young students in high schools and campuses on a number of topics such as: sexuality, fetal development, pregnancy, abortion and post-abortion syndrome, sexual transmitted diseases. Furthermore, they offer house and lodging to those women who desperately need it; offer practical help consisting of baby clothes, medicines, powdered milk and money. They strive to create awareness within the local community of the needs of pregnant women and of the fact that abortion only compounds human need rather than resolving it. All services are provided free of charge.
All these women came to the hospital determined to have an abortion performed, but changed their mind after talking to the specialists and getting to know what an abortion really implies. Some had already paid the bill for the abortion. Because of these services, women who were searching for help to get through the situation easier are given more options then they were aware of. There are a lot of children who would literally not have existed in our world. It is true that their mothers face more earthly difficulties (which the associations do their best to alleviate) but the babies brought them also a new sense of fulfillment and joy that only parents can understand. As a result, none regrets her decision to keep the baby.
„The National Plan for Poverty Alleviation and Promotion of Social Inclusion”, is published (GD no. 829/2002 of 31.07.2002 )
„Romania Sociala ed. de Asociatia Romana de Sociologie, Institutul Social Roman si Asociatia pentru Promovarea Asistentei Sociale”, nr. 3/2003, nr.4/2004
Revista de Asistenta Sociala, nr. 2/2002, 6/2002