The Black Madonna 24: Decree 770
In 1967 the Romanian Communist Party, under Nicolae Ceaușescu, issued Decree 770. The decree banned abortion in all but a few cases and banned contraception. The goal was to counter the drop in births that had begun as a result of the high female labor participation and liberal abortion policies. Sex education was even changed to focus on the benefits of motherhood, mothers bearing many children being seen as heroes.
The economy was extremely weak and poverty widespread however, leaving poor families unable to provide for themselves and illegal abortion as the only way out. The use of primitive methods thus increased sharply, leading to many cases of sterility, infection and even death.
Many children were also abandoned, and ended up in orphanages where conditions could be truly horrid. The children would be tied down to their beds or by their own clothing. Often the children would be left naked, sitting in their own urine because the staff had failed to put clothes on them. The mostly untrained staff was encouraged to discipline the children by hitting them, and through this the older children learnt to the beat the younger.