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The frightful “heartbeat bill” that Iowa’s legislators passed and Reynolds signed brought to mind the past treatment of women in Romania and China.

In 1966, Romanian communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu authorized Decree 770 where women of child bearing age were mandated to produce four (and later five) children to increase the dwindling population in this poor labor shortage country. Abortion and contraception were immediately outlawed. Consequently, the number of underground abortions soared. Hundreds of children ended up in orphanages. My cousin, a native of Mason City, and long-time resident of Vienna, Austria, became involved in Project Centipede which supplied shoes and other needed supplies to these desperate children.

In 1979, China instituted a one-child policy on the Han Chinese people as a part of its family planning policy. In 2007, 36 percent of China’s population was subject to a strict one-child policy, and an additional 53 percent could have a second child if the first one was a girl. Provincial governments imposed fines, and through commissions, local and national governments would carry out registration and “inspection” work. A two-child policy exists today.

When governments insist on interfering with women’s most private part of their lives, rarely does anything good come of it. The best solution to abortion prevention will always be comprehensive sex education and affordable easy access to contraception.

Johanna Anderson, Osage

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