The Impact of Recent Policy Changes on Fertility, Abortion, and Contraceptive Use in Romania
A national household survey of 4,861 women aged 15-44 on reproductive health issues was conducted in Romania in 1993. The survey provided the opportunity to study the impact of policy changes by comparing selected aspects of fertility, abortion, and contraceptive use before and after the December 1989 revolution, when the laws restricting abortion and contraceptive use were abolished. After abortion became legal, the total fertility rate dropped to below replacement level, while the induced abortion rate doubled. Contraceptive prevalence increased 20 percent, but augmentation of the use of traditional methods, rather than the change in legislation, accounted for 70 percent of the increase. Limited sex education and contraceptive information, mistrust and misinformation about modern methods, a lack of adequately trained providers, and a shortage or uneven distribution of contraceptive supplies are major reasons for the continued high rates of unintended pregnancy.