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This blog is maintained by the Ruth Institute. It provides a place for our Circle of Experts to express themselves. This is where the scholars, experts, students and followers of the Ruth Institute engage in constructive dialogue about the issues surrounding the Sexual Revolution. We discuss public policy, social practices, legal doctrines and much more.
A shout-out to our friend Paul Kengor, with a thank you for mentioning us in your fine article!
By the 1970s, the USSR was averaging 7-8 million abortions per year. To this day, the countries with the highest abortion rates remain communist or recently communist: Russia, Cuba, Romania, Vietnam, China.
By Dr. Paul Kengor
This article was first posted November 17, 2020, at The Catholic World Report.
Kudos to Rachel’s Vineyard and the Sisters in Jesus the Lord (as well as Jennifer Roback Morse at the Ruth Institute) for marking the centennial of a tragic moment. It was 100 years ago, November 18, 1920, that the Bolshevik regime in Soviet Russia legalized abortion. It was a moment of terrible consequence for Russia and the world.
“We are hoping that this anniversary will not pass unnoticed and that it will be an occasion of praying for an end to abortion in the whole world,” says Mother Maria Stella Whittier, a nun with Sisters in Jesus the Lord. “We invite all clergy and laypeople around to world to pray with us on this day—each in their own way and ability—and to repent by showing even the smallest restraint.” They are urging people worldwide to join them in prayer for the defense of unborn children this November 18th.
Amen to that. What happened on that date was truly a landmark, for it was a day of infamy.
Abortion was legalized by the Bolsheviks soon after they seized power. Their revolution commenced in St. Petersburg in October 1917, followed immediately by a brutal civil war from 1918-21, which (according to historian W. Bruce Lincoln) would leave some seven million Russian men, women, and children dead. But that was nothing compared to the deaths of the unborn that commenced when the Bolsheviks legalized abortion in November 1920.
Interestingly, Russians were not free to own a farm or factory or business or bank account—or go to church—under the Bolsheviks. As for Russian women, communists seized their fur coats as well as their bank accounts. You could no longer get your baby baptized. And yet, if you wanted an abortion (or a divorce), the sky was the limit. In that very narrow area, you had complete freedom.
In November 1920, having overthrown the ship of state and butchered (literally chopped into pieces) the entire Romanov family in July 1918, the Bolsheviks made good on Vladimir Lenin’s June 1913 promise (printed in Pravda) for an “unconditional annulment of all laws against abortions.” Very much akin to their later progressive progeny in the West, the Soviets issued their decree under the guise of “women’s health.” Lenin’s decree was titled “On the Protection of Women’s Health.” Abortion was made fully available and free of charge to Russian women.
As often happens when a certain vice is legalized, society saw more of it—and then some. The number of abortions skyrocketed. Remarkably, by 1934 Moscow women were having three abortions for every live birth—shocking ratios that American women, in the worst throes of Roe v. Wade, never approached.