Children of the Decree

Children of the Decree

2005, History  -   55 Comments
Ratings: 8.72/10 from 166 users.

Procreation is the social duty of all fertile women, was the political thinking during the 1960s and 1970s in Romania. In 1966, Ceaucescu issued Decree 770, in which he forbade abortion for all women unless they were over forty or were already taking care of four children.

All forms of contraception were totally banned. The New Romanian Man was born. By 1969, the country had a million babies more than the previous average. Thousands of kindergartens were built overnight. Children had to participate in sports and cultural activities.

Romanian society was rapidly changing. By using very interesting archival footage and excerpts from old fiction films and by interviewing famous personalities from that time – gynaecologists or mothers who were part of the new society - the director revives this period of tremendous oppression of personal freedom.

Many deaths were caused by the mere fact that women, including wives of secret Romanian agents, famous TV presenters and actresses, had to undergo illegal abortions. Many women were jailed for having them.

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4 years ago

So many different horror stories under communist regimes, and so many, like this story of forced childbirth in communist Romania – and yes, it is essentially forced when a regime denies access to birth control; humans will have sex regardless, it's in our genes – are still so little known. Virtually everyone knows something about the monstrosities of the Nazis, but how many know the first thing about tyranny under the Ceaucescus? How many, even today, still buy into the Marxist ideology that produced regimes like this?

5 years ago

How is there not a single comment here talking about how shitty these women were (with the one exception of the woman who got pregnant in 11th grade)?

No, all the comments here are a bunch of people whining about their right to kill a child just because they couldn't keep it in their pants.

I can see how back alley abortions and the medical complications is a compelling argument, but even at the end of the documentary, they gave the numbers:

10,000 women died as a result of illegal abortions

2,000,000 children lived instead of being aborted

Pretty stark difference there...

Also, on a side note, people need to learn what the word "force" means. Nobody forced these women to have sex, so nobody forced them to have a baby. The only thing done here was the prevention of murder.

Save the sob-story for someone else.

5 years ago

If women everywhere would do what Romanian women did, and ABANDON the forced birth spawn that men saw fit to impose upon their bodies---men would start respecting reproductive freedom.
Give the infant to the man and say: "HERE, YOU RAISE IT".
See chaos ensue as men scramble to get their sister, grandma, girlfriend---ANY woman around, to do the dirty work for them.

7 years ago

this isn't about abortion to me. it's about resources. once you see the kids towards the end of the film without resources, once you see the other documentary about the train station kids, you see how possible hell is, and it's really not as dogmatic as you think. who is wrong to want to prevent that pain or help those victims? i'll always prefer the peaceful rural monastery lives, the gardens... i've worked (literally just, a menial job) with people who live out of their car, unable to smell their lack of time spent on just the body parts they want to keep together. when it gets to that point, if we look at our leaders, we might become jealous and therefore hateful. that's not what anyone wants to experience, but certainly, there are people like this film-maker and organizations across the globe (doctors without borders, habitat for humanity) who really want to help... even if it seems impossible, it's important to remember miracles have happened and will continue to happen. i look forward to the days when we don't have leaders, but we just have groups with good will, and that way, we don't see a loneliness or a responsibility, but an effort beyond that single experience in the womb, the holding cell mentalities.

7 years ago

we should definitely be studying our basic needs and desires, our drives and motivations, and even though this may mean sacrificing OURSELVES in the process, we also encourage our own self-love and responsibility which engenders the beliefs in the inevitable and therefore the educated prevention and preservation of how we pursue happiness. it's offering jobs, science, but it's also someone like myself saying, "i've done this and could never do it again." that's something more mature than emanating that feeling of never really having done anything and yet needing to always feel like that... a lot of kids are born without intention, forcing them to wander a little more, maybe seek a little too much. who doesn't need an eye on them in every which way????

7 years ago

Excellent documentary. I remember watching a doco about a particularly awful home for disabled children in Cighid but never looked into the history of Romania and how it could ever have happened. Scary to think that regime was only put to an end in the last 30 years.

Brigitte; I assumed when Elena said she had raised him referred to how the two were dominant figure heads for the entire population and seen by all children as 'mother and father'. A last attempt to brainwash and tug at their heart strings.

Just sad the most heinous result of this documentary are the amount of males in this comment section loudly voicing what women should do with their bodies. How any man can feel so indignant to write things such as 'many methods other than abortion, pick one', and comparing it to murder is beyond my own comprehension. Go back to your mothers womb, grow some ovaries, then tell me how a woman feels about something only they will have to consider and endure. I hope those writing such things never have a woman as a significant other.

7 years ago

Can anyone tell me who Laurentiu Stefanescu was (he formed part of the execution squad) and why Elena kept shouting she raised him like his own son as he tied her hands..? Might have missed something here... (1:02:20 onwards) Thanks!

9 years ago

This film is surprisingly dark in a foundationally personal way, forcing deep thought about humanity, power and the two coalescing. 'A must'. Simply fascinating.

9 years ago

This was such an intense documentary...I expected it to be interesting, but there's some stuff in here that's pretty disturbing. The dark side of social engineering and a reminder behind the human cost of things like this.
Growing up, aware that you may have been born because the state said you had to be must be so weird. On some level, I guess you'd feel like Ceaucaescu was kind of like a father in a sense...and also, I'd constantly be wondering how my parents really thought of me before they knew who I was.

10 years ago

Not relevant to the video, but:

I just had to point out that those posters who appear to be Romanian are often drafting excellently spelled and constructed contributions. This is in stark contrast to many of the (assumed) US/UK conributors.. If this isn't worthy of note, and an example of the free-fall declne in educatiion standards in the US/UK, then I do not know what is!

It's no coincidence that as education standards decline, (invariably, in the USUK through the insipd increaing influence of religion)...the anti-abortion rhetoric increases in visibility. What on Earth is wrong with abortion?.

10 years ago

People tend to think things this happen only in dictatorships but what people don't know is that America has (and still does) use methods of population control in this case with the ceausescu regime it was disallowing abortion for population increase but in America the practice was eugenics it may be hard to believe (not for me) for most people but eugenics basically is the science of keeping blacks (and other colored races who have black genetics) from mixing with white people enfact planned parenthood is a eugenics program the founder margret Sanger was a eugenist and she wanted to keep black women from having children and even conducted forced sterilization to many black men and women even sader was the fact she even sterilized boys and girls white people try to claim "oh it's not about race" but the 1st p.p. was placed in Harlem and almost exclusively black neighborhood and other were also put in or near black neighborhoods Sanger even said " we don't want people to think we want to whip out the negro population" she even attended klan rallies yes as in ku klux klan so what America can't judge the genocide is still going on bill gates even admitted to being a eugenist though he didn't name any races that's what it's about wealthy white elites tend to support and fund these genocideal programs the Rothchilds rockefeller and the other owners of America support them so American can't Judge ceaus

10 years ago

Abortions should be outlawed. With so many other methods to prevent unwanted pregnancy, pick one.

10 years ago

China is a communist country and they're not forbidding abortions but actually forcing mothers to abort their second child. This has nothing to do with communism ..... Ceausescu simply did all this for one reason - acquiring power and work force as a nation period.

China ..... already has over a billion working people they don't need more working force so they're doing the opposite of what Ceausescu did. I am not a religious person and I don't think the bible should be read by anyone either, it's just bs ... but I'm still against abortions. It basically means to murder your own child. (MURDER)

10 years ago

We live in a century of "Freedom" however we're more enslaved than we were ever before. Just because everyone can afford more these days simply because of the debt they make, that is no freedom ...

In my honest opinion abortion is not "Evil" ... the right word is "wrong". Human beings have been constructed and evolved as intelligent beings but that doesn't give anyone the right to kill an unborn child.

Like someone else said below, if promiscuous relationships (sex) would stop, we probably wouldn't have to deal with so many abortions.

Under the communist regime everyone was supposed to keep their children and yes abortion was forbidden.


Ceausescu needed a higher population, a stronger working force, a stronger army, a country that was literally evolving at that time. Everyone afford a decent house, a decent car and everyone afforded to raise even 3 or 5 kids. Nowadays things have changed for the worse in Romania. You can barely make it financially on your own, let alone having 5 kids.

Ahmber Burgess
10 years ago

If you have been hunting for a highly captivating history documentary, this will hit the spot for anyone born before the fall of the the Berlin wall, or basically 1989. I had never even heard of the 1989 Romanian uprising or the fact that it was a Communist country run by a very idealistic dictator-whose very love for his country causes his own execution by his "children's" hands. It is not just about the injustice that the women of the country suffered under the 1966 Decree, it is a close study of how all the aspects of the country's society were affected by one man's ideals. This film needs to be seen just as much as those KONY 2012 films were. This is the sort of history that is not talked about in our country for some odd reason. Seriously, it may disturb you as well as inform and intrigue you...but there are issues and events, as well as incredible interviews, that will speak to every individual in their own way.

Please re-post my review and the film link if you watch it and agree that this historical event should not be something that we should choose to be ignorant about. Thank you.

10 years ago

There is a difference between birth control and abortion. Abortion is not birth control. Although I don't believe in abortion, I do believe in birth control. I don't think abortion was the more important right of women. Birth control was. If they had of had access to birth control. Abortion would not have gotten out of control like it did with illegal practitioners.

10 years ago

I have always seen parallels between the "pro natality" measures taken in the past and the idiotic bible belt campaigns that wish to remove this freedom to choose whether you procreate or not. I have heard a lot of stories about the hush-hush situations that people found themselves in, and about the, sometimes, tragic turn of events that proceeded the rudimentary abortion techniques. I live in Romania and I can tell you that if you ask, you can hear a lot of these testimonies from those past generations that had to endure those harsh times and ideologies.

Wayne Siemund
10 years ago

I see possible parallels today with the politicians trying to outlaw abortion. This documentary would provide a good educaton on the consequences of trying to control the lives of the people.

10 years ago

It's OK, don't worry he won't do it again, We shot him(Ceau?escu) and his wife in the head.

10 years ago

I only wish for a plague to wipe out the filthy human race.