The Problem of Abortions in Lithuania in 1919–1940: Between Law and Morality Cover Image

Abortų problema Lietuvoje 1919–1940 metais: tarp teisės ir moralės
The Problem of Abortions in Lithuania in 1919–1940: Between Law and Morality

Author(s): Miglė Mataitytė
Subject(s): History of Law, Criminal Law, Social history, Interwar Period (1920 - 1939)
Published by: Vytauto Didžiojo Universitetas
Keywords: Abortion; Illegal abortion; Crime; Criminal law;Morality;

Summary/Abstract: The main aim of this article is to show the problem of abortions in Lithuania in 1919–1940. To begin with, it is important to mention that abortion caused by natural circumstances is not important in the context of this research. This means that attention in this article is given mostly to the legal regulations of abortion, to motives why abortions were made in the first place and also how they were made. During the research author points out and shows different public opinions on abortion in Lithuania in 1919–1940. Until 1935 all abortions in Lithuania were illegal. But in 1935 new law was adopted which stated that abortion was legal only on two conditions – then women’s life was in danger and then pregnancy was the result of crime. This change of opinion on abortions suggests that society was improving but as the research showed it was not enough. The most common motives for induced abortion were: harsh economic situation, negative attitude of the society on unmarried pregnant women or personal decision not to have children. These differences of view, misunderstanding between the Law and everyday life of the people led to situation where abortions were made in very toxic environments by using harmful tools and measures. Moreover, this situation was the main cause of serious illnesses or even death of the pregnant. Also, society viewed abortions as great moral felony. However, it is hard to deny that there was an understanding between some that the Law itself is incapable of solving this induced abortion problem.

  • Issue Year: 2019
  • Issue No: 17
  • Page Range: 179-195
  • Page Count: 15
  • Language: Lithuanian