Women and abortion in Soviet Society

In the article “Revolution and the Family”, Wendy Goldman discussed the ideas of abortion and women in the Soviet Union.  She discussed how women in the Soviet Union, believed and even acted on using abortion in their lives.  She argued that abortion was used more often with women who were in comfortable positions, such as being married, than women who were unmarried, jobless, or young.  To prove her argument, she looked at influences in Soviet society that helped women in stable conditions make such decisions.

So why did Soviet women, the married and stable ones, decide to use abortion?  Wendy Goldman noted that the use of abortion was evident from the mid 1920s until the prohibition of abortion in 1936.  During this time, Goldman noted that abortion was a result of two important aspects.  First, she noted that during the 1920s, there had been the problem of overcrowding of children in Soviet homes.((Wendy Goldman, “Revolution and the Family” in The Stalin Revolution: Foundations of the Totalitarian Era. 4th edition. Edited by Robert V Daniels.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1994. 163))  This can be contributed to two factors.  First, the devastating effects of World War I and the Russian Civil War left many children parentless, thus creating influxes of adopted children throughout homes.  Second, Goldman pointed to the idea of Stalins policies that everyone works, both men and women.  Thus, opportunities in the workforce and the military opened up for women, allowing them to leave the home.  Wendy Goldman noted that the number of women entering the workforce between 1930 and 1931 “in heavy industry leaped suddenly from 22 percent to 42 percent.”1 As a result of the rapid jump in the number of women entering the workforce, women who were in stable conditions tended to abort their children because because of the strain pregnancy and taking care of children were on the women.

Considering Wendy Goldmans piece on abortion, do you think that this was true among all ethnic groups?  Or do you think it was only true among ethnic Russians?

  1. (Wendy Goldman, “Revolution and the Family” in The Stalin Revolution: Foundations of the Totalitarian Era. 4th edition. Edited by Robert V Daniels.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1994. 164 []

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *