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.
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