"Abortion Will Deprive You of Happiness!": Soviet Reproductive Politics in the Post-Stalin Era

  title={"Abortion Will Deprive You of Happiness!": Soviet Reproductive Politics in the Post-Stalin Era},
  author={Amy E. Randall},
  journal={Journal of Women's History},
  pages={13 - 38}
  • A. Randall
  • Published 2011
  • Sociology, Medicine
  • Journal of Women's History
This article examines Soviet reproductive politics after the Communist regime legalized abortion in 1955. The regime's new abortion policy did not result in an end to the condemnation of abortion in official discourse. The government instead launched an extensive campaign against abortion. Why did authorities bother legalizing the procedure if they still disapproved of it so strongly? Using archival sources, public health materials, and medical as well as popular journals to investigate the… Expand

Figures and Topics from this paper

The Politics of Reproduction: Abortion and Authority in Soviet Cinema
In the Soviet period, state policy on abortion underwent three significant changes: legalization in 1920, banning in 1936 and re-legalization in 1955. With reproduction and motherhood consideredExpand
Abortion is Communism: A Genealogy of "Abortion Culture"
In the twenty years since the collapse of communism in the Eastern Bloc, various scholars of history, women’s studies, sociology, political science, and reproductive rights have studied theExpand
‘New eugenics,’ gender and sexuality: a global perspective on reproductive politics and sex education in Cold War Europe
ABSTRACT The article addresses reproductive politics and sex education in Cold War Europe in light of novel historical research. Integrating sex education into reproductive politics it delineatesExpand
Politicized Demography and Biomedical Authority in post-Soviet Russia.
We explore obstetrician-gynecologists' (ob-gyns') shifting involvement in late Soviet and post-Soviet reproductive politics and track broader political-economic dynamics of the profession'sExpand
‘Protecting the national body’: regulating the practice and the place of prostitution in early republican Turkey
In the formative years of the Turkish Republic, the regulation of prostitution was geared toward biopolitical ends: safeguarding public health and eliminating syphilis. Viewing sexually transmittedExpand
Marx or Malthus? Population debates and the reproductive politics of state-socialist Poland in the 1950s and 1960s
ABSTRACT The article presents state-socialist and Catholic reproductive and population politics of Cold War Poland, focusing on competing discourses of population growth that were present in publicExpand
Men as Husbands and Fathers in Postwar Poland (1956–1975): Towards New Masculine Identities?
The aim of this paper is to explore the popular perception of men in family roles. In a broader perspective, it explores the effects of social changes under state-socialism on men’s identities andExpand
Abortion, neglect, and the death of Augusta García Platas en Ayacucho, Peru, in 1946.
  • R. López
  • History, Sociology
  • Historia, ciencias, saude--Manguinhos
  • 2017
The criminal trial that was held to determine who was responsible for the death of Augusta García Platas, a young woman who died after a clandestine abortion in Ayacucho in 1946, is examined to clarify the strategies used by the defendants to refute criminal charges. Expand
Sex advice East and West: sex education and family planning in Cold War Austria and Hungary
ABSTRACT This article contributes to literature discussing the reemergence of eugenics in post-World War II reproductive and population political contexts by comparing Austrian and HungarianExpand
Stalin’s “New Soviet Woman”
The goal of this paper is to evaluate the extent to which Stalin has used the ideology of communism to promote feminism in Soviet Union in the 1930s and early 1940s. In order to do so, this paperExpand


Motherhood, patriotism, and ethnicity: Soviet Kazakhstan and the 1936 abortion ban.
  • P. Michaels
  • Sociology, Medicine
  • Feminist studies : FS
  • 2001
The Soviet governments pronatalist policies demonstrate the way in which the state legitimated its power in part through the issue of womens health and reproduction as well as instructing the public about the political significance of procreation and the ills of abortion. Expand
The Dictatorship of Sex: Lifestyle Advice for the Soviet Masses
"The Dictatorship of Sex" explores the attempts to define and control sexual behavior in the years following the Russian Revolution. It is the first book to examine Soviet "sexual enlightenment," aExpand
Abortion, contraception, and population policy in the Soviet union
Summary Despite its anti‐Malthusian bias, current Soviet doctrine makes clear that regulation of the size of growth of population is one of the functions of the state. Two recent Soviet actions, theExpand
The demographic argument in Soviet debates over the legalization of abortion in the 1920s.
  • S. Solomon
  • Political Science, Medicine
  • Clio medica
  • 1993
The demographic argument against abortion became prominent again in 1931/32 after a hiatus between 1927 and the late 1930s after the decline in the birth rate due to increased numbers of abortions. Expand
The Body Soviet: Propaganda, Hygiene, and the Revolutionary State
In 1918 the People's Commissariat of Public Health began a quest to protect the health of all Soviet citizens, but health became more than a political platform or a tactical decision. The SovietsExpand
The re-legalization of abortion in Soviet Russia.
  • M. Field
  • Medicine
  • The New England journal of medicine
  • 1956
The 4 distinct periods of Soviet legislation on abortion are discuss ed. From 1917-1920 abortions were illegal even on medical grounds. This was a continuation of the policy of Czarist Russia. FromExpand
Single Motherhood and Maternal Employment in Divided Germany: Ideology, Policy, and Social Pressures in the 1950s
  • E. Heineman
  • Sociology, Medicine
  • Journal of women's history
  • 2000
It is argued that, despite their short-term failure to change women's mothering and labor force behavior via public policy, the German states strongly influenced the social pressures women faced by shaping the discursive environment. Expand
Homosexual Desire in Revolutionary Russia: The Regulation of Sexual and Gender Dissent
The first full-length study of same-sex love in any period of Russian or Soviet history, Homosexual Desire in Revolutionary Russia investigates the private worlds of sexual dissidents during theExpand
Women's rights and women's lives in France, 1944-1968
Women's Rights and Women's Lives In France explores the everyday experiences of women between the liberation, and May 1968. In 1945, French women believed that a new era was beginning for them, inExpand
Women, the bureaucracy and daily life in postwar Moscow, 1945-1953
This monograph examines the Soviet state's attempt to rebuild and repopulate following World War II by offering to support families while encouraging women to enter the full-time work force. However,Expand