CHRIS BURTON (Toronto, Canada) MINZDRAV, SOVIET DOCTORS, AND THE POLICING OF REPRODUCTION IN THE LATE STALINIST YEARS* Of all Soviet medical practices, the use of abortion is the best known, or most infamous. This is mainly because of its use as a legal form of birth ' control where other forms were scarce or unavailable. The Stalinist criminali- zation of the practice over a twenty-year period, from 1936 to 1955, is also notorious. Abortion had been largely criminalized in June 1936 as part of the practically oriented extreme pronatalism of Soviet policy in the second half of the 1930s.2 War broke out before the viability of criminalized abortion could be gauged properly, but in the months after victory at Stalingrad, Soviet state and society turned from mere survival to revive some inactive immediate pre- war measures. The policing of reproduction via criminalized abortion was one . such measure. Focusing on criminalized abortion in only the late Stalinist years from 1943 to 1953 is easily justified. In view of the staggering loss of human life duririg the war, one would expect a revival or intensification of pronatalism by the Stalinist state. The suite of pronatalist measures was indeed replenished
Russian History – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2000
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