Accepted paper:

Mobility and Reproductive Health in Postcommunist Europe: The Case of Romanian Women Migrants to South-West France


Lorena Anton (University of Bucharest)

Paper short abstract:

The aims of this paper are to present the intersubjectivities between past and present when analyzing the relations between mobility and reproductive health in postcommunist Europe, in taking contemporary Romanian women migrants to South-West France as a case study.

Paper long abstract:

Reproduction control in Ceușescu's Romania (1966-1989) is considered to have been one of the most repressive political demographies in twentieth century Europe. Immediately after the fall of the communist regime, the new Romanian government legalized abortion on request (in the first trimester of pregnancy and under the supervision of the medical profession). This change, along with intensive migration, is considered to be the cause of the demographic drop of almost 1.5 million recorded in the first two post-communist decades, a demographic decline never experienced before.

The consequences of Ceausescu's pronatalism continue to affect Romanian women's reproductive health to this day. Although the legacies of the past are not being debated publically in post-communist Romania, their negative effects become visible at both national and international level when Romanian citizens migrate. Romanian women who migrate to France (to study or work, legally or illegally) are forced to assimilate into and embody another public health system. Intersubjectivities are thus developed between old practices and new places, in terms of reproductive health. The analysis is based on a long term oral history fieldwork on the memory of abortion in communist Romania, as well as related documentation and archives, and an anthropological fieldwork in progress on the Romanian immigrants in South-West France, their reproductive health practices and health-care access.

panel MMM32
Management of mobility in contemporary Europe: experiences and strategies of migration