Here's what happens without access to abortion : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

The BBC's Sue Lloyd Roberts reports "It is easy to buy babies in Bucharest" real 28k

Friday, 3 March, 2000, 22:29 GMT Shopping for Romanian babies

There are still 140,000 children abandoned to the state

By the BBC's Sue Lloyd Roberts in Romania There are few more depressing assignments than the Eastern European "orphanage beat". In Russia, you can find thousands of children who have been forcibly removed from parents deemed to be inadequate, through alcoholism, drug abuse or political inclination.

Orphanages are understaffed

The accepted belief is that the State is the best possible parent. In Romania you can find as many children who have been dumped in state institutions by parents who simply cannot afford to feed them.

I walk into a "Cassia dei Copii", a "house of children", in northern Romania. The smell of urine, the cold and dim lighting is familiar. A sea of expectant young faces looks up at me. Within seconds, two small fists are thrust into my hands. Others dig under their mattresses for childish drawings - no-one has a locker in which to keep personal belongings - which are then frantically held up to me for approval.

If you are prepared to pay, then you can shop for a baby

The children are desperate to give these offerings to someone, anyone. They call out, "What is your name, what is your name?" I am too choked to answer.

Give me a war zone any day, but spare me the emotional trauma of 100 children searching for a mother.

It takes some time to locate any adult carer - hardly surprising since there are only three on duty for the 100 or so children.

I ask whether it is true that, in some orphanages in Romania, only 1% are what we would describe as genuine orphans; the rest have been left for economic reasons.

"I don't know," the director says, looking around at all the children apparently without identities. "Their papers have been lost.

"But most of them haven't been visited for six months," she adds helpfully, which means that under Romanian law they are now the official property of the state.

And this is not a trip down memory lane to those pictures of half-starved, neglected children, the babies rocking in their cots, when journalists were first allowed access to Romania after the revolution 10 years ago.

Then, we found 150,000 children abandoned to the state. Since then, the situation has improved slightly - there are now 140,000.

'Vested interest'

In the thankfully, clean-smelling, warm offices of the European Union in the capital Bucharest, the Head of Mission holds his head in his hands.

Last year, the discovery of thousands of malnourished children in an investigation sponsored by Brussels prompted an emergency-feeding programme.

But attempts to persuade the authorities to do something fundamental, he says, meet with a blank wall of vested interest.

The children live in poor conditions

"Thousands of jobs are involved in running these state institutions," he explains. "We are dealing with an industry of children."

"We're also dealing with the industrialisation of the womb," mutters an aide, ominously.

Posing as a wealthy, would-be parent of a Romanian orphan, I discover what he means. If you apply to adopt a Romanian orphan legally in the UK it takes months of approvals and then a child is selected for you.

If you are prepared to pay, then you can shop for a baby, as I did in a town some three hours drive north of Bucharest.

Local gossip says the orphanage director is making a fortune from the trade. She has powerful friends and the police are not allowed to investigate.

She shows me 60 babies she has in her baby shop that week. They all look clean but are still prone to the rocking motion of babies suffering from neglect.

She gives me three to chose from - Andrei, Nico, or Liviu - the ones she knows she can easily get permission for from their impoverished parents.

"I can forge their signatures if necessary," she says.

The sum of $20,000 is mentioned and she says she can get the baby delivered, all papers intact (her daughter is a lawyer) to my home in north London.

Baby trade

In the surrounding villages, I find the network which feeds the trade.

Wherever I stop, villagers come up to me asking, "Are you here to buy a baby?"

I am told of one couple who lost two of their children to the orphanage down the road.

"We took them there for the winter," explains the father. "Because we couldn't afford to feed them.

"And when we came to collect them, we were told they had gone."

The tears roll down his cheeks. The four-year-old boy who remains at home is holding on tightly to his father as he speaks, with some anxiety.

I then went to meet a woman who produces for the baby shop.

"I have given six children to the orphanage and kept two," she says. "I don't mean to keep this latest one."

She places a nine-month-old baby on my lap.

"You can have him if you like," she says.

"For $11,000," the father adds quickly.

I hand back the seventh baby I have been offered in as many days in Romania, make my excuses and leave.

-- Citizen Ruth (, August 01, 2000


Citizen Ruth,

Is your thread title blatant propaganda, or pure stupidity?

The failed economic policies of communism are to blame for most of these "orphans". Others "have been forcibly removed from parents" because of "political inclination".

The only way that access to abortion would be helpful in this situation would be if there were a foolproof test for identifying socialists while they were still in the womb.

-- J (Y2J@home.comm), August 01, 2000.

A modest proposal: infanticide.

-- (, August 01, 2000.

NEMESIS, BE A HERO, put on some pampers,& VOLUNTEER-TO BE MURDRED!!!

-- al-d. (, August 01, 2000.

I just knew the compulsory pregnancy nazis would show up on this thread.

Here's a clue for you J. Romania is not a Communist country, and has not been for some time. This article was not about teenagers. You do not see this sort of thing happening in North Korea or in Cuba, you see it in Romania where women are forced to bear children they do not want and can't support. The children fall to the state, who takes advantage of the situation in a uniquely capitalistic fashion and sells the children to wealthy foreigners.

This is exactly the type of world the pregnancy nazis want. No sex education, little access to contraception, and no abortion. Tell me J, were you born this stupid or did it take a effort?

-- Citizen Ruth (, August 01, 2000.

Citizen Ruth,


"Aft er the collapse of the Soviet Bloc in 1989-91, Romania was left with an obsolete industrial base and a pattern of industrial capacity wholly unsuited to its needs. In February 1997, Romania embarked on a comprehensive macroeconomic stabilization and structural reform program, but reform subsequently has been a stop-and-go process".

I didn't say that Romania was a communist country. I said that their problems were the result of failed communist economic policies.

You said, "were you born this stupid, or did it take a effort"?

Using "a effort", while calling ME stupid.

That's priceless.

-- J (Y2J@home.comm), August 01, 2000.

It appears your ability to use HTML, much like your critical thinking skills, are seriously flawed. Here's the link you may have been going for.

J's Link

You should note that while your link referenced economics, the uncomfortable fact remains that Romania has been a Republic for quite some time. This begs the question of why Romania, over other current and former Communist countries, has such a problem with the selling of babies. The answer, of course, is that other countries have sex education and access to contraception and abortion, three things Romania lacks.

Using "a effort", while calling ME stupid.

That's priceless.

I'm not the one who thinks forcing women to have starving children who are later sold to wealthy foreigners is a wonderful thing, I'm just someone who typed the letter "a" by mistake. Compared to you I'm a rocket scientist.

Of course, since you think the long-dead Nicoli Ceaucescu is more to blame for the situation in Romania than the lack of basic sexual education, contraception and abortion, then I suppose you would equate a slip of the index finger with a slip in grammar.

-- Citizen Ruth (, August 01, 2000.

Citizen Ruth,

I can link just fine when I am so inclined.


That site says that, "Statistically, Romania has the highest abortion rate in the world. Currently 3 out of 4 pregnancies are terminated with abortion".


Lest you discredit the first site because it is pro-life, the second link is to an International Planned Parenthood Federation page. This page points out that abortion has been legal in Romania since December 1989.

You have just proven to the forum that you are either spewing propaganda, or that you are incredibly stupid (or both).

As I asked in my first post, which is it?

-- J (Y2J@home.comm), August 01, 2000.

Glad I came back for a few days. Ruth people who would deny women access to legal abortion should first live in the shoes of the women.

Second, stupid pedants, who nitpick about "a" word mispelled, or misplaced are fools, and we have too many fools already.

-- gilda (, August 01, 2000.


Hi, how the heck are ya?


-- Someone (, August 01, 2000.


You might want to review the entire thread, including the links, before blindly coming to the aid of Citizen Ruth. It appears that either she has been bending the truth to further her agenda, or that she is as dumb as a box of rocks.

Or both.

-- J (Y2J@home.comm), August 01, 2000.

>> are either spewing propaganda, or that you are incredibly stupid (or both). <<

J, I must hand it to you. I have never seen you spew propaganda. You are far too much a lady to spew. You would spit it out on a fork behind a napkin and place it discreetly on the edge of your plate.

-- Brian McLaughlin (, August 01, 2000.


I'm struggling with the inconsistencies of the original article. First, the suggestion was made that the children were taken away by the state, and that the state was the only party making money off the adoptions, and yet at the end it states that several families offered up their children to these orphanages, and went on to suggest that this was a business. The $11,000 figure gave me the feeling that these women were SHARING profits with the state. How else would one know the going price was much higher?

The whole scenario is atrocious, IMO, but I'm not at all convinced by the article that lack of access to abortion is the cause. It looks to me like some Romanians are trying to take advantage of the overall shortage of adoptable white infants.

-- Anita (, August 01, 2000.

Lets see now, first we get parents:

"I have given six children to the orphanage and kept two," she says. "I don't mean to keep this latest one."

She places a nine-month-old baby on my lap.

"You can have him if you like," she says.

"For $11,000," the father adds quickly.

Then we get the whining from

"Citizen Ruth";

I'm not the one who thinks forcing women to have starving children who are later sold to wealthy foreigners is a wonderful thing

Next we find out;

"Statistically, Romania has the highest abortion rate in the world.

Currently 3 out of 4 pregnancies are terminated with abortion".

It does not look like the problem is lack of access to abortion, now does it?

Then what exactly was this whole exersize about in the first place?

-- Cherri (, August 01, 2000.

-- (hmm@hmm.hmm), August 01, 2000.


That's a good question. It's too bad that Citizen Ruth seems to have abandoned the thread.

-- J (Y2J@home.comm), August 01, 2000.

Did anyone else notice the way J latched on to one of the only political notes in the whole article?

I think Ruth and J are both off base with this one. If the orphan problem can be blamed on Communism and the rule of Ceaucescue as J says, then you can lay the blame squarely at the feet of lack of access to abortion, since one of his first acts was to eliminate abortion and contraceptions. I remember reading a news article that talked about the high number of Romanian women who died of illegal abortions in Romania- the number was in the tens of thousands. I'll try to dig it up.

If the problem is not Communism then Ruth needs to clarify or change her argument. Abortion is legal in Romania, and has been for some time, though I'm not sure I believe J's link that says 75% of pregnancies in Romania are aborted. That percentage seems quite high for a country that has an uneducated populace and a lack of medical care, and there's no reference point for the statistics. Moreover, it's from an anti-choice web page by people who have every reason and motivation to maximize spin and minimze truth. If there is a problem with choice in Romania, I'm thinking it's a lack of access, where women are too poor or too far away to get an abortion (much like in the rural US). Of course, that's not what Ruth said.

-- Tarzan the Ape Man (, August 01, 2000.


How does the lack of access to abortion 11 years ago cause the orphan problem today? According to the International Planned Parenthood Federation, abortion has been legal in Romania since December 1989.

On the other hand, if communism has so greatly trashed the economy that it is , 11 years later, still unable to provide for the citizenry of Romania, then it makes perfectly good sense that people are willingly having children, but are then unable to take care of them because of their poverty. That is my belief.

Regardless, Citizen Ruth was either lying or mistaken when she stated, "Here's what happens without access to abortion", as Romanians clearly have access to abortion.

-- J (Y2J@home.comm), August 01, 2000.

Good for you Cherri and J for speaking up and presenting rational discussions of the subject. Children are a just and worth cause, as the mothers of those who post here must have believed in their particular cases.

That percentage seems quite high for a country that has an uneducated populace and a lack of medical care, and there's no reference point for the statistics.

Not sure of the percentages of preganacies aborted in China, Tarzan, but I believe that they are quite high and China certainly meets the criteria you give.

About "choice" - If you must choose, I suggest you choose life, since that is a precious thing.

-- FactFinder (, August 01, 2000.


Do you have any clue what the women in Romania have been up against?

Here is an article from 1996. Let's hope things have improved since then for the sake of the women and the children.

Lack of Contraception Keeps Post-Communist Romania Abortion Rate, Maternal Death Rate High

Romania's abortion rate remains the highest in Europe according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute and the New York Times. Throughout communist rule under Nicolae Ceausescu, contraception and abortions were strictly forbidden for more than 20 years in Ceausescu's attempt to use population growth as a way to build Romania. Complications stemming from illegal abortion during his reign are believed to have killed 10,000 women and maimed many more.

Because of the Romanian government's opposition to promote family- planning Romania still has the highest abortion rate as well as the highest rate of pregnancy mortality. During his recent campaign, president-elect Emil Constantinescu said improved health services would become a priority under his government. There is already a fair amount of Western aid to help Romania establish family planning services, and advocates of family planning are optimistic that Constantinescu will be supportive of their efforts.

Unlike every other country in Eastern Europe, Romania manufactures no contraceptives, making imported devices expensive. One month's supply of birth control pills can cost as much as -- or up to three times as much as -- an abortion. Since the state pays for abortions, the procedure costs less than $1 at public hospitals, though many women feel obligated to give the doctor an extra payment. Daniela Draghica, an administrator of a family-planning clinic set up on a pilot program last year, said that doctors told women that pills would give them heart disease and make them fat, repeating myths circulated during the Ceausescu regime.

All reproductive health services for women need improvement in Romania. Even in 1995, 48 women died from childbirth for every 100,000 live births in Romania, down from 84 in 1990. In the U.S. the rate of death was 8 per every 100,000 live births in 1995. Last year, there were still 59 deaths caused by illegal abortion, down from 120 in 1992 and 445 in 1989.

[Source: The New York Times - November 21, 1996]

-- Debra (, August 01, 2000.

You Can't find a better way. You must murder the child?

-- ET (, August 02, 2000.

FF>"About "choice" - If you must choose, I suggest you choose life, since that is a precious thing."

Well, that's your suggestion. I hope you're prepared to deal with it if some people don't follow your suggestion.

ET>"You Can't find a better way. You must murder the child?"

It's not murder. That's just your interpretation of abortion. The courts don't agree with you, Congress doesn't agree with you, the President doesn't agree with you, and the majority of the American people don't agree with you. See, that's what pro-CHOICE means; you get to choose whether or not to have an abortion, and so does every other woman. If you don't like their choices, too bad. If pro- choicers aren't bitching about your choice to have a kid, then why do you feel the need to bitch about some other person's choice to have an abortion? Who the hell do you think you are to tell a lady that she MUST carry a child to term?

J>"Regardless, Citizen Ruth was either lying or mistaken when she stated, "Here's what happens without access to abortion", as Romanians clearly have access to abortion."

Maybe. But you're either mistaken or lying when you assume that abortion being legal automatically means that women can get them easily, or at all. There are plenty of places in the US where women have a mighty hard time getting one of those "legal" abortions. It wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility to imagine that some pregnant Romanian teenager might face as many obstacles. Or even more. I wonder, what does J think of contraception? It wouldn't surprise me if J was against contraception as well as abortion.

Legal abortion does not mean "accessible" abortion. Shame on you for equating the two, J.

-- Access For All (, August 04, 2000.


-- (hmm@hmm.hmm), August 05, 2000.

Oh no! Ugly pictures of abortion! That renders all other arguments invalid!


Maybe you'd like some pictures of starving children posted here, FactFouler? That would put us back to square one, and force you to start talking again instead of posting pictures. Of course, it's possible that you've never read a book that didn't have pictures in it, so that might be asking a little much of you.

"I shall stand with the innocent child,"

What about innocent rape victims? You keep avoiding that question.

Folks, go over onto the other thread, entitled "Citizen Ruth is Right." See how FactFouler dodges questions. Then ask some questions of your own, or help FF out, if you please. FF needs all the help he/she can get.

"it is God we must ultimately answer to.

Go ahead and answer to your mythical, made-up god, if that's what you want. But I refuse to answer to a fairy tale.

-- Access For All (, August 06, 2000.

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