English, please / Ideas

The ‘Pregnancy Crisis’ Franchise: from the United States to Romania

by Diana Meseșan, illustrations by Roma Gavrilă

Publicat pe 14 iunie 2019

A young woman is smiling at you in a comforting way from a poster in the Victoriei metro station, in the center of Bucharest. It’s the middle of March, 2018. A question is splayed on the top of the ad: Unexpected pregnancy? The anxiety you could derive from this combo of words, ‘pregnancy’ and ‘unexpected’, is instantly soothed by the font’s color, a relaxing crème beige, but especially by the message underneath it: ‘We stand by you. Free professional counselling’.

It’s an ad for the Center of Counselling and Support ‘The Holy Empress Alexandra’, a counselling center for pregnancy crises, which opened in the fall of 2017 in Bucharest and affiliated to the international network Heartbeat International, whose headquarters are in Ohio, United States.

The counselling centers for pregnancy crises, also knows as CPCs (crisis pregnancy centers) originated in the ideological battle surrounding the issue of abortions in the USA. Opened for business almost everywhere in America starting with the 70s, these centers offer support to pregnant women: pregnancy tests, social assistance and even financial help. The only option they won’t discuss is abortion. Some of them even position themselves against contraceptives.

“We don’t recommend abortion. We won’t send anyone Go, do an abortion, it’s a good thing. But, in principle, an option is an option. If someone wants to choose this option, they will find a [solution]”, Alexandra Nadane, executive director for the Alexandra Center in Bucharest told me in an interview.

“I got involved in this thinking that even if I manage to save a single child, a single life, it’s a big deal for me”, explained George Becali, the sponsor of the Alexandra Center. “Even if you are 10 years old, or 7 years old or 9 years old [the age when you get pregnant], when life is created there is no excuse that justifies murder. (…) We don’t kill the plant, we don’t kill the child. It’s life, it doesn’t matter how old it is,” he added.

From winter 2017 and until the beginning of spring 2018, all the passengers pouring through the metro stations of Victoriei and Grozăvești were able to read the words “We stand by you! Free professional counselling”. But who are the people offering this support and where do the money come from, the money which make this gratuity possible? What is the connection to the pro-life movement from the United States, a movement which recently led to severe restrictions towards abortion in several U.S. states? What part could this center or others like it play in a country like Romania, in which abortion was strictly forbidden for several decades, a restriction which led to the death of more than 10,000 women?

The idea

The “Holy Empress Alexandra” center is located in an eight-story building in the Eroilor area. On the first floors, there’s a clinic which treats cancer through ‘alternative’ methods, like oxygen therapy or hyperthermia, called ImunoMedica. On the seventh floor, there is the pregnancy crisis center.

The woman behind it, recently decorated at the annual Heartbeat International conference in Dallas, USA, “for her involvement in supporting women going through a pregnancy crisis and for her efforts of professionalizing this initiative in Romania” is Alexandra Nadane, a 26-year-old from Bucharest. With a bachelor degree in Communications and Public Relations from SNSPA (The National School for Political and Administrative Studies), she established the association Studenți pentru Viață (Students for Life), she participated in the organization of several pro-life marches, events which aim to stop abortions or to change adoption laws, and holds regular presentations all over the country, for kids in school, students and priests.

When I met her in July last year, she was wearing trousers and a flowered shirt. Tall, with a round face and a tooth gap, Nadane gives off a childish vibe, but also a very determined one. She is extremely articulate and seems to be a person whose life is one with a cause.

At 16, she was already coordinating the media department of a humanitarian organization. She recounts receiving an email from a young woman back then, who was 24 years old and was asking for help. She was pregnant and her parents were pressuring her into getting an abortion. The members of the organization told her there’s nothing they can do to help, because this isn’t their domain. “We can’t do anything, just ignore it and carry on. But I just couldn’t simply live with this idea”, Alexandra recounts.

So, this was the starting point for her commitment. She mobilized and involved every resource she had at her disposal as a teenager. She spoke with the young woman’s parents, wrote an article on her blog, managed to draw in the support of some adults. “It’s the kind of situation in which if you offer a bit of support, women can really have viable options and they can be helped to make the choices they want”.

All the cases described to me by Alexandra have the same profile: women who want to keep their pregnancy, but who are forced by their parents or their partners to get an abortion. But I think about the ad poster from the metro station, promising support and offering contact coordinates. That is addressed to all women with an unexpected pregnancy, not just those who want to keep it.

If you are undecided and you dial the number on the ad, what kind of counselling will you receive? If a pregnancy termination is among your options, not just the options of people around you, will you be supported regardless of your decision?

“We are discussing options, possibilities, what she wants to do, what she needs, actual help needed, what the center can help her with. It’s the informing stage, where we discuss every possible choice she can make”, says Nadane.

I ask if abortion is ever presented as a possible solution. “No, there are no situations in which the psychologist also recommends abortion, but on the other hand they are not stopping anyone, either.”

The centers who are affiliated with Heartbeat International, which therefore includes the Alexandra Center, have to respect a series of principles around which they operate. Among them is the following: “The centers affiliated with Heartbeat don’t counsel, provide or recommend abortion or abortive medication”.

All options actually mean all options minus abortion, thus. But this isn’t mentioned anywhere. Not on the metro station poster ads, nor on the website, nor in the partnerships signed by the Association for Supporting the Pregnant Woman and the Family, which administers the Alexandra Center, and various public institutions for social assistance and child protection in Bucharest.

Just as the source of financing is not mentioned anywhere, either. Alexandra only told me that they are private donors and that the center is named after the mother of one of them.

The money

I dial the phone number a journalist colleague gave to me, but there’s no answer. Then, less than 5 minutes later, I get a call from that number. “Yes, please”, a man’s voice tells me.

“Hello, Mr. Becali?”

“Who is this?”

This is how my conversation with the sponsor of the Alexandra Center began in last year’s fall. I had suspected that the ex-politician, owner of the FCSB soccer club and philanthropist George Becali is behind it, for several reasons. In the same building where the center for pregnancy crisis operates, there is a clinic for treating cancer through alternative methods, owned, as per the Registry of Commerce, by George Becali and Virgiliu Vlăescu. In 2017, George Becali proudly marched at the forefront of the March for Life, dressed in the national folk costume, and declared for reporters that abortion is murder. Also, his mother’s name is Alexandrina.

“I know you are preoccupied with this issue of abortion and natality. Have you done anything for this?”, I ask him on the phone.

“I made a medical practice that deals with this and a foundation that handles all the young girls who get pregnant and don’t want children. And it counsels them psychologically, helps them keep the children.”

So pregnant girls who don’t want children but who are being convinced, through counseling, to keep the pregnancy. That is the target audience of the Alexandra Center, according to its sponsor.

“She [Alexandra Nadane] told me that one of the donors chose the name of the center after the name of their mother”, I tell him on the phone. “And I thought about the fact that your mother’s name is Alexandrina”.

“Not one of the donors, I’m the only one who’s giving.”

Becali furnished the center, bought machines, including an ultrasound, transfers money to them every month, but says he never went there. The entire building is owned by him. He tells me that there are very few people he trusts completely and to whom he gives money without even requiring an explanation, and Alexandra Nadane is one of them. On the same list you could find the priest Nicolae Tănase, one of the founders of the pro-life movement in Romania, and Virgiliu Vlăescu (known to the wider public as Virgiliu Gheorghe). Becali says he is grateful to them. “I am thanking them, because I know they are working. I only transfer from one account to another [the money]. Just a bank transaction.”

The businessman decided to support Alexandra Nadane’s initiative of opening a center, because “a single human life [saved], in the eyes of God it’s bigger than the entire universe”.

For him, abortion is murder, and a center such as this one offers him the possibility of saving lives which would otherwise be lost.

From his point of view, abortion should not be encouraged, but it shouldn’t be punished either. “Abortion should not be legislated, I don’t authorize doctors to perform abortions, but if a doctor performs one and a girl aborts, they should not be punished. But still, I don’t legislate it as a state, as a people. I go to the hospital and say look here, I want to have an abortion legally. I, as a state, say to you I don’t legislate it. If you want to get an abortion, go and have it at a private medical practice. It’s your business.”

In a way, Becali, view on abortion is closer to the current Romanian reality than it seems. Although ending a pregnancy on request is legal up to the moment of 14 weeks, at least 14 state hospitals throughout the country are refusing to perform abortions on request, with the doctors claiming religious reasons or reasons having to do with the freedom of moral thought. (Besides the 12 hospitals identified by Hotnews, there are at least two more: the County Hospital for Emergencies Piatra Neamț, uncovered by Să Fie Lumină, and the Clinical County Hospital for Emergencies Târgu Mureș, where I called for an appointment and they told me they are no longer performing abortions.) In some of our towns and cities, if you want to get an abortion, you have to go to a private medical practice. And if you don’t have money for a private practice, that’s your business.

The know-how

If the dedication comes from Alexandra Nadane, and the money from George Becali, then the know-how comes from the United States, through the Heartbeat International franchise, a network with over 2,600 members throughout the world. In exchange for an annual tax, the affiliated organizations have access to a huge network of information and contacts: trainings, conferences, manuals, expertise, access to exclusive programs about ‘sexual integrity’ or web design services. The annual tax is 250 dollars for U.S. affiliates and 70 dollars for international ones.

“Our story is really a glorious mosaic of thousands of small personal stories of everyday people who, in response to the spread of legalized abortion, stepped in to help women escape the temptation and pressure to abort their precious babies", you can find out on the website of Heartbeat International. “Foot soldiers armed with love”, that’s how Peggy Hartshorn, the executive director of Heartbeat International, calls these activists.

Heartbeat International commenced its activity in the early 70s, under the name Alternatives to Abortion, as a response to abortion being made legal in the United States in ’73. The Alexandra Center is its only affiliate in Romania. In South-East Europe, there are more affiliates in Serbia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania and Macedonia.

But these ‘foot soldiers armed with love’ are also encouraged to use manipulation techniques. The journalists from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) got their hands on a recording from the annual Heartbeat International conference in 2012, in which the activist Abby Johnson tells the participants the following: “We want to appear neutral on the outside. The best call, the best client you ever get is one that thinks they are walking into an abortion clinic.”

A few days before the opening of the Bucharest center, Peggy Hartshorn, the executive director of Heartbeat International, came to Romania to hold a training. The preparations lasted for a few months, explained Alexandra Nadane. Over 65 people from all over the country attended it: professors, social workers, psychologists, theology students, “who learned how to establish such professional centers and how to manage communication with women who are faced with an unplanned pregnancy.”

The training got results. At the end of last year, in Rădăuți, in Suceava county, a pregnancy crisis center was opened. “Participating in the training from 2017 with the Heartbeat International organization represented the moment when our purpose became clearly contoured”, said the center’s coordinator in an interview with the anti-abortion website știripentruviață.ro.

“It is the mission of Heartbeat International to share what we know is valuable, to be able to reach the women who are thinking about aborting, to present them with alternatives full of love”, Hartshorn explained in an interview for Trinitas TV.

Just like George Becali, Hartshorn describes in direct terms the target audience of these counseling centers for pregnancy crises: women who are thinking about having an abortion.

Alexandra Nadane speaks in a much less committed way. I found the explanation for this in one of her letters from 2014. Nadane was, at the time, looking for support in the international pro-life movement, right after the Students for Life association was banned from participating in an educational fair organized by the University of Bucharest.

“We chose to adopt a non-partisan stance on the issue of abortion (on its legalization or forbiddance), taking into account the particularities of Romania’s recent history”, Nadane wrote. “Instead, we wanted to do things which could be accepted in the Romanian society”, she added.

In other words, if abortion is a collective taboo after decades of severe limitations, an open wound, then we won’t say the word. After the year 1990, the few legal attempts to restrict abortion failed. And the lesson was clear for those who were listening: the topic cannot be approached directly.

“The kind of activism we make is not necessarily focused on the idea of social or legislative changes”, Alexandra Nadane told me in an interview. “What we care about is changing people’s mentality and culture.”

On the other hand, words such as “Unexpected pregnancy? We stand by you!” can come as a much-needed mental relief in a society such as Romania: with a huge number of pregnant teenage girls, with no support programs for this group, with massive fragmentation within families, but also between generations. Such words you can read in the metro stations, but also all over the internet.

(Phone) Life Line

I type “unexpected pregnancy” on Google and hit search. On the first page there’s a website called sarcinaneasteptata.ro [‘unexpected pregancy’, n.a.]. Under the domain name lies the promise of help. “We can help you with moral and psychological support. We listen to you with no judgement. Friends and support. When someone reaches a tight spot.”

Once I get on the website, I am greeted with a question: “Did it happen unexpectedly?”, a call to action: “For support, you can call this number free of charge.” and a phone number which starts with 0800. A so-called ‘telverde’, an emergency number for pregnant women. There are also the logos of two pro-life organizations in Romania, Pro Vita București and Pro Vita Iași. The first is a non-governmental organization, while the second is a part of the Orthodox Church. (The website sarcinaneasteptata.ro, which was still active in May 2019, is currently undergoing reconstruction.)

The same phone number is pushed for the visitors of another website, insarcinata.info [‘pregnant’, n.a.]. I find out that the phone number is named Telverde Pregnancy Info or The Life Line and that it is a service for pregnant women who want “to rise above the difficulty of an unexpected pregnancy”.

Among the project’s partners, listed online, there is also the Heartbeat International association. The hotline type of phone lines has been at the center of the pro-life movement in the United States right from its start. Slowly, these phone lines morphed into centers of assistance for pregnancies and medical clinics, you can find out from the website of Heartbeat International. The same model is followed by the Life Line phoneline in Romania. Besides counseling through the phone call, they are also offering ultrasounds and medical consultations free of charge, material support and even shelters for mothers.

I called to find out what kind of counseling can a woman receive when she calls the Life Line. I told them I am a student, that I got pregnant and that I don’t know whether to keep it or not. On the other end of the line, I could hear a warm female voice. She introduced herself, told me her age, that she is from Iași and that she’s volunteering with the center.

About three minutes into the conversation, she brought up the consequences of abortion. “If you will go to an obstetrics and gynecological medical practice, you should be very well informed about the complications and accidents which can occur during the abortion or after the abortion.”

The woman from the Life Line continued to present a long list of physical and psychological problems which she claims can be caused by abortion: “profound bleeding”, “uterine hemorrhages”, “uterine perforations”, “irreversible damages to the cervix”, “lesions on the internal organs”, depression and suicidal attempts “which can last for 10 years after the abortion” and even cancer. “More than 60% of the women who developed breast cancer and cervical cancer are among those who had abortions”, the woman from the helpline also told me.

In reality, most of the consequences enumerated have a very slim chance of happening, and some are downright false. For example, uterine perforations may appear in 0.05% of the women who go through a surgical abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy, and 0.32% of those who have an abortion in the second trimester.

The alleged connection between abortion and breast cancer is false. “Scientific research studies didn’t find any causal link between abortion and breast cancer”, the American Cancer Society attests. The causal link between abortion and depression was also scientifically invalidated by numerous studies. It was also shown that there is no scientific proof for the idea claiming that women who get an abortion are more exposed to the possibility of a suicide attempt compared with the ones who keep the pregnancy.

The phone call with the volunteer from Telverde Pregnancy Info lasted over 40 minutes. Besides the monologue about the serious consequences of abortion, the woman asked questions, was patient and a good listener, discussed her own personal experience openly and even offered financial support.

She suggested that I should just carry the pregnancy full term, even if I don’t want the baby, because at least then it could be adopted. “No one will know that you left that child in an orphanage. But he will live.” “Otherwise you kill him. That is murder.”

But a child left in an orphanage will most likely stay in an orphanage. In Romania, there are around 53,000 institutionalized children. Only 1,280 of them were adopted in 2017.

Hunting in maternities

The donations for supporting the Telverde Pregnancy Info center are going to the bank account of an association called Glasul Vieții [‘Voice of life’ – n.a.], led by Father Dan Damaschin. Involved in numerous humanitarian campaigns for supporting orphans, which were covered by the media in great detail, he also played an important part in something much less known.

Father Damaschin managed to convince the doctors from the biggest maternity hospital in Iași to stop performing abortions on demand.

In 2005, when he started performing religious service at the chapel within the Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecological Hospital ‘Cuza Vodă’ in Iași, things were ‘much different’, he recounted in an interview he gave in 2013 for the website Doxologia.

“In the beginning it was somewhat like hunting, in the sense that you had to be very vigilant in the hospital’s courtyard. At the specialized outpatient center, where they perform abortions, I was told I was barred from entering, since it’s an area between the hospital and the exterior and it wasn’t a space pertaining to my specialty. Then I had to look very carefully at the mothers who pass by and identify them, it’s very easy to spot those who are on their way to the outpatient center to the abortion. And I was holding back a bit because I didn’t know where this could lead. In the meantime we found a more effective solution, to put a female person to stand guard there, one of our voluntaries, a well-prepared social worker, who will approach the women, and, depending on how available each one is, to lead them to the church so we can discuss the issue in more detail.”

The priest also shared, in his interview from 2013, that “after 7 years of religious service at the church within the hospital courtyard, dedicated to the ‘Birth of Christ’, the communication with the doctors improved.” We can assume that in the following years the communication of Father Damaschin with the doctors improved even more, since in the present day the Cuza Vodă Maternity is no longer performing abortions.

“We don’t do pregnancy terminations in the hospital. Try a private practice”, a medical professional working at the maternity hospital told me when I called them last October to ask what are the steps for scheduling an abortion.

“We don’t do pregnancy terminations in the hospital. I don’t know why you keep pushing. We just don’t do abortions and that’s that! I can’t tell you more. They’re not done. For a long time now, not since recently.”

I told them I can’t afford to go to a private practice. “It’s not our problem what you can afford or not. It’s your problem.”

Although the conversation was simulated on my part, I felt my stomach go in knots. What if the conversation would have been genuine? How does it feel to hear these words, “it’s not our problem”, when you need an abortion?

I compared the attitudes of the two women, the one from the Telverde Life Line and the employee from the Cuza Vodă Maternity. The employee spoke without a trace of compassion, with the kind of coldness that sends you plunging in the middle of a vast loneliness. Compared to this, the voice on the Life Line phone was warm and understanding. But in a way, both women were broadcasting the same message, but in different ways. We don’t do abortions / You shouldn’t have abortions.

Terminating a pregnancy is a legal public service in Romania. But for how much longer can we speak about the freedom to choose when a state-owned maternity refuses to perform a public service, without offering any explanation, while the only helpline which promises support and information for pregnant women tells you that abortion is murder?

The missionaries

Over 30 counselling centers for pregnancy crises are currently active in Romania, or so I can find out by reading the list on the website of the ‘March for life’, the 2019 edition. A lot of these centers are also running sexual education programs for teenagers, in which abstinence is presented as the only contraceptive method.

I discover that only a few of these belong to the Romanian Orthodox Church, who entered the playing field of reproductive rights pretty late in the game. Most centers belong to NGOs established by American neo-protestant missionaries or by Romanian citizens established in the United States. For example, the Pro Vita Clinic Foundation in Cluj was established in the 90s, with the support of two American organizations: Pregnancy Resource Center International and Global Partners Inc. The last one is led by Mike Menning, ex Republican Senator in the state of Minnesota.

The Americans came up with the resources and the expertise. They brought video resources and brochures, opened maternity houses and counselling centers for pregnancy crises, lobbied in the Parliament.

What were their motivations? An article from 2003, published in the Baptist Press, says that Christian missionaries are “working hard in Romania for stopping the practice of killing unborn children”.

Sharon Herrera, a missionary from Nashville, Tennessee, who established pregnancy crises centers in several cities in Romania, financed in their first years of activity with money from American donors, explains in the same article that abortions are used as a contraceptive method in Romania, and that most Romanian women abort for financial reasons.

“The youngest to get a curettage is 12”, “Because of the curette, doctors get blisters on their hands”, “The pupils in the capital demand banning abortions”, these are only a few of the titles of articles about abortion, published by the Evenimentul Zilei newspaper between June and December 1992. By researching the newspaper’s archive from that time period at the Central University Library in Bucharest, I notice the catastrophic but also cynical way in which abortion was discussed. The doctors, society, the pupils, they are harmed by it. The women’s point of view, alas, is absent. They are just the ones who ‘get a curettage’. The large number of terminated pregnancies is attributed to the legalization of abortions, through the Law-Decree No. 1 of 26th of December 1989.

But while I am exploring the archive, I run into other titles as well. “State pharmacies in Bucharest don’t have any kind of contraceptive pills”, announces an article from 19th September 1992. Two months away from this one, another article about the lack of contraceptives is published. “You can’t find condoms anymore either”, reads another title from the same page with “Senator Ioan Alexandru argues for banning abortion”. Two years earlier, Ioan Alexandru, a poet and founding member of the PNȚCD political party, had established the first pro-vita organization in Romania.

The lack of contraception and the large number of abortions may seem like two giant pieces in a puzzle that people just can’t put together. Or who don’t want to put together, for financial or ideological reasons. A story published by The New York Times in 1996 revealed that a lot of doctors in Romania were opposing family planning, because it was more profitable for them to perform abortions due to the bribes they received. While for Christian organizations, contraception is a form of murder. The Iochebed centers in Romania, established by the missionary from Nashville, Tennessee, propose “a moral lifestyle” and sexual abstinence as viable fixes for the large number of abortions. As most pregnancy crisis centers, they reject contraception.

Besides financial resources, the American missionaries also brought the discourse of the pro-life movement from the United States to Romania. Terms such as pregnancy crisis have slowly found their way into the language of the local movement. Later on, they were even close to entering law texts.

In 2012, counselling practices for pregnancy crises almost became mandatory in Romania. It all started with a new law proposal made by two liberal members of Parliament, Marius Dugulescu and Sulfina Barbu, with the support of ten anti-abortion non-governmental organizations. It was called “legislative proposal for establishing, operating and organizing counselling practices for pregnancy crises”.

The project required every woman who wanted to have an abortion to be required to visit a counselling center for pregnancy crisis first and to then show her gynecologist a certificate of counselling obtained from one of these centers. Here is what the template for the mandatory certificate of counselling included among other things, this document which the woman was required to sign:

“I was informed that abortion means halting a life, because the human embryo is a live human being from the moment of its conception.

I was informed about the alternatives to abortion and I received a list of institutions and organizations which offer assistance and support during the pregnancy and after birth.”

If the legislative proposal would have passed, Romanian women who still wished to have an abortion would have needed to sign a document which said that they are more or less criminals.

True stories

Upon leaving the Alexandra Center, Alexandra Nadane gives me a book as a gift: “True stories about the pregnancy crisis. Women who are happy to have given birth, women who regret aborting”.

The book was published with the support of another American organization, Saint Paraskeva Orthodox Charity, established by Mariana Cuceu, a Romanian citizen established in the U.S., who teaches at the University of Chicago as part of a program about medicine and religion.

The book contains 59 heart-rendering stories, a lot of them about shame and guilt. The take-away is that if you get an abortion you will spend the rest of your life sorely regretting it. But they don’t say anything about the fact that it’s society who feeds this shame, especially the church. I found out, for example, that at a convent near the Cluj-Napoca city, women who had an abortion get a penance to say every day, until their death, the following prayer: “God, have mercy on my children, killed in my womb”.

In the book they also don’t mention that there are a lot of women who don’t actually regret getting an abortion. A study made in the United States, over a period of 3 years, revealed that in 95% of the cases studied women said it was the right decision for them.

“No woman wants to have an abortion”, Father Nicolae Tănase, one of the initiators of the pro-vita movement in Romania, explained in an interview. The pregnancy crisis, Alexandra Nadane explains in the preface of the book, is “that short period in a pregnant woman’s life when abortion appears to be another option, besides continuing the pregnancy and delivering the baby”. In other words, a woman could never get an abortion out of her own free will, because it’s against the maternal instinct. And if for a short time she does see abortion as a possible alternative, she has to be counselled to get over it.

But this kind of discourse is reducing the wishes and life situations of millions of women to a homogenous mass. And it contests their autonomy, their capacity to decide for their own lives.

For the pregnant women who wish to have that child, but who lack support from their family or their partner, counselling centers for the pregnancy crisis can play a benevolent part, by gifting them a kind word, a piece of advice, money for rent or for diapers. But when they pretend offer objective information about pregnancy and reproductive health, while actually presenting exaggerated or scientifically incorrect information, then it’s not counselling and informing anymore, but manipulation.

“From a public health standpoint, these centers endanger women by misinterpreting and misrepresenting medical evidence”, states an article published last year in the AMA Journal of Ethics, a scientific platform about ethical and professional issues in medicine, based in the United States.

Furthermore, as we could notice in 2012, some of the organizations who operate these centers have a keen interest in changing the laws regarding abortion.

Even if the law proposal did not pass then, that doesn’t mean there will be no more attempts, especially considering the connections between the U.S. and Romania. In the United States, the pro-life movement managed to move the fight into legislative territory and even win it. In the beginning of May, abortions were banned in the state of Alabama in almost all circumstances, even in the cases of rape or incest, through the Heartbeat Bill. More restrictive measures were adopted in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota and Ohio, among other states.

If the pregnancy crisis franchise caught on in Romania, why wouldn’t the heartbeat franchise catch on as well?

Translated by Miriam Cihodariu

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