Don’t Get Too Excited

Rorate Caeli sent out a tweet today congratulating the (Orthodox) Church of Greece for the low rate of out-of-wedlock births in Greece as compared to other members of the Organisation for Economic Development (OECD). (You can view the numbers here.) As Life Site News reported last year, abortions have been skyrocketing in Greece since the economic crisis, with people increasingly relying on them as a form of birth control. In fact, many historic Orthodox countries, including Bulgaria, Romania, Belarus, and Russia, have some of the highest abortion rates in the world — a depressing truth made all the more depressing by the Orthodox Church’s ostensible resurgence since the fall of communism in the East. Sad times these be.

5 comments

  1. Is there data on the abortion rates in former Warsaw Pact countries prior to the fall of communism with a comparison to today? Has it changed at all? Has it changed in certain demographics within the country, e.g., not only those who identify as Orthodox but actually practice their faith? Remember, post-Soviet religious confusion has led to their being a host of atheists who also identify as Orthodox. The rate might be higher than in other countries today, but that rate might be far lower than was the case 20 years ago under Communism.

    In Greece as in the US, there is a difference between the countries’ general religious affinities and the more particular practices of individuals active in those religions. That is, is there a difference in abortion rates between those who do and do not go to church, not just those who might identify in some way with that faith.

    Finally, as we are seeing in the US, economics is a major factor related to the number of abortions performed. None of these countries has seen stable economic growth in recent times, and all are in some level of financial crisis. A low (or lower) abortion rate in the face of the Greek economic crisis, for instance, would be a surprise.

    1. To my knowledge, it was generally the policy of the USSR to strongly encourage population growth among at least ethnic Russians (not sure about other Warsaw Pact countries or among the USSR’s non-ethnic Russians), including with “family allowance” payments. The USSR made abortion illegal in 1936 as a pro-natalist measure, although it was made legal again at some later date (not sure when).

      When you consider the fact that one of the USSR’s constant problems from the 1920s all the way through the end of the Cold War was a population too small and scattered to meet the Party leaders’ consistent strong desire for intense urbanization and industrialization, it would seem odd for them to have done other than officially discourage abortion, even if legal.

      I don’t have access to JSTOR, but if you do, then this article looks like it’d be quite enlightening on the topic: http://www.jstor.org/stable/349555?Search=yes&resultItemClick=true&searchText=abortion&searchUri=%2Faction%2FdoBasicSearch%3FQuery%3Dabortion%26amp%3Bfilter%3Diid%253A10.2307%252Fi214910&seq=1#fndtn-page_scan_tab_contents

  2. I think the main reason abortion rates are higher in Orthodox as opposed to Catholic countries is the lack of emphasis on natural law in Orthodoxy.

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