Pregnancy should occur when it is wanted and when the prospective parents are mature enough to dedicate themselves to the rearing of their offspring. At least in theory.
life, however, things look different. In 2012, UNICEF statistics revealed that
Romania had the biggest number of underage mothers in Europe. Further more, a
survey carried by the national Statistics Institute over January 2012 and March
2013 showed that out of 12,073 pregnant women aged between 15 and 19, 7, 547opted
for abortion. In recent years the abortion rate in Romania has been growing
consistently, experts in the field say. With details on that, here is Monica
Carstoiu, an obstetrician with the University Hospital in Bucharest.
Monica Carstoiu: "According to UNICEF surveys,
Romania has ranked first in Europe as regards underage women giving birth to a
child. On average, 8,500 such births are reported yearly. It is in our best
interest that abortion should no longer be the most often used contraceptive
method, because in theory, there is a possibility to prevent an unwanted
pregnancy. Data provided by the World Health Organization have revealed that
Romania has the highest abortion rate across Europe: 400 abortions for 1,000
According to medical doctor Carstoiu and her fellow medical
doctors: (quote) 'Worrying statistics have also been confirmed by the
Romanian women's reluctance to see a gynecologist periodically. The main cause
for their negligence is the lack of sexual education regarding the importance
of the gynecological exam. (unquote) It is not only education that is
missing, also missing is basic knowledge related to the options today's women
can make for their own body, civil society representatives say. Daniela
Draghici is employed as a specialist in advocacy for sexual information and
education with the Feminist Analyses Society ANA.
Daniela Draghici: "The big problem we have pertains to the
method and capability to inform young women, and not only them, on their right
to make a mindful choice as regards reproductive health. In 2003, Romania fared
quite well at this chapter as a cooperation protocol had been drawn out between
Healthcare, Education and Youth Ministries and the Romanian government. The
protocol stipulated offering courses on sexuality as early as the second grade.
The courses were to be taught by teachers with special training in the field.
Such initiatives did not take off the ground, all the more so as the US
foundation that made funds available to that end withdrew their financing after
Romania had gained access to the EU."
Part of the aforementioned program, which was subsequently
aborted, even a sexual education manual had been compiled, which was endorsed
by all ministries involved in that protocol. The manual was compiled based on a
syllabus jointly drawn out by specialized NGOs. Everything was thought out so
that family health classes - according
to their official label - should be run also taking into account the sensitive
issues of those involved, Daniela Draghici also said.
Daniela Draghici: "If things had carried on little by little,
everything would have unfolded gradually so that neither parents nor children
may get frightened. Furthermore, the network of family planning physicians
ought to have been used extensively. General practitioners have also been
trained through external financing, so that they may become family planning
physicians. They are extremely well trained to that end, but they are not used,
Among those physicians we found Iuliana Baltes, deputy manager of
a medical compound with a family planning office, one of the very few offices
still operational across Bucharest, financed by the Municipality of Sector 1.
We spoke to her about the consequences of lack of information on reproductive
Iuliana Baltes: "A couple of years ago we perfected a family
planning program and things rolled just about fine, with visible effects on a
decreased abortion rate. Unfortunately, we have been facing a growing number of
abortions and unwanted pregnancies in teenage girls. A carefully-structured
family planning program would cost much less than the treatment of all
consequences related to an unwanted pregnancy or an abortion."
According to physician Iuliana Balteş, at
the beginning of family planning in Romania there were almost 240 practices
across the country. Their number has meanwhile dropped reaching 4 - 5 in the
capital Bucharest. But patients are not that numerous. Why?
Iuliana Baltes: "Because
there is no office where they can get correct information. They speak to each
other and that's how they reach the medical office. Through the national
program that ended several years ago, we had the possibility to freely
distribute certain contraceptives especially to pupils and students, a group
that is exposed to risks given their lack of money to buy contraceptives.
Unfortunately the government forgot about the program and now we can no longer
help anyone with free contraceptives. When the program was ceased, the number
of women who came to the office dropped. Amazingly two thirds of the women who
came to the family planning practice were from the rural areas. They were
consistent users and came regularly to take their contraceptives, because they
were free of charge."
Experts recommend the
resumption of cooperation between the state authorities, between the ministry
and NGOs with a view to resuming the information campaigns on reproductive