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Red Alert! Anti-choice and anti-gender-ism goes mainstream in Romania


From 1966 to 1989, abortion was banned and criminalized in communist Romania leaving generations of women dependent on rudimentary means of birth -control. Historians estimate that around 10,000 women lost their lives during the period due to botched abortions and abortion related complications.

Under the said circumstances, few nationals believed it possible of an anti-choice movement to irrupt and consolidate in Romania. However the impossible did turn into a reality and a stronger anti-choice movement is growing at a fast pace.

From the debut of the autumn of 2014, 27 anti-choice organizations began an intimidation campaign against a youth friendly sexuality education platform. The anti-choice movement mapped the youth sex educator’s public appearances and filed complaints against such events with local authorities in a clear attempt to contain the dissemination of science based sexuality education.

From smearing and intimidation tactics, what is now a Romanian anti-choice movement also employs more commonplace instruments for advancing its homophobic and anti-women messages. For example, the movement sent out several open letters during September and November addressed to the Romanian government where the main message has been against civil unions and against the acknowledgement of same sex couples as couples. The homophobic messages set forth by organizations affiliated with Pro Vita International also consisted of anti-choice and anti-gender messages claiming that the new ideology of “gender-ism” is threatening national and Christian values as well endangering national birth rates. This approach is similar to other recent European wide initiatives working on the denigration of the term gender and its proponents such as women’s rights advocates, LGTBQI movement and sexuality educators. A late bloomer, the anti-choice movement in Romania is publishing and launching books with titles such as “The Global Sexual Revolution: Destroying freedom in the name of freedom”.

The links between anti-choice movement and mainstream politics are also becoming more apparent with politicians embracing anti-choice messages on the entire Romanian political spectrum. In the context of presidential elections, all major candidates when pushed on the issue of abortion responded that “the uncontrolled abortion” phenomenon needs to limited or at best some candidates said that they do yet have a clear opinion. One candidate in particular, a woman and an independent backed by numerous civil society representatives wrote in her presidential program that her candidacy will take responsibility for the rights of the unborn. While a minor candidate in the presidential run-offs, such wide and unchallenged acceptance of anti-choice messages is a clear sign that women’s rights groups need to be on alert! Anti-choice movement is no longer a silent presence but a worrisome, mainstream adversary.

Written by Irina Costache, Romania, A.L.E.G.

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