By Alena Heitlinger
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Extra info for Reproduction, Medicine and the Socialist State
Thus, they tended to advocate anti-natalist policies. Sociologists and social psychologists were apparently unhappy that population policy came to be seen as a purely demographic problem. They drew attention to their own expertise, on the basis of which they claimed that demographic processes 'are far too complex, too much a part of the intimate and emotional sphere of life, of the internal dynamics and circumstances of each individual family' (Ziolkowski, 1974, p. 473). On these grounds, they opposed the very principle of central planning and control of demographic processes, especially fertility.
Such measures are not only relatively ineffective, but they also contradict basic principles of social policy of a socialist state. (Italics in original) What does this particular definition reveal? The emphasis placed on sex equality and reproductive freedom demonstrates the continued political significance of Marxist egalitarian ideology in Eastern European societies. While it is true that Marxist ideology essentially performs a legitimising function for those in power (although in many circumstances with diminishing returns), it is also true that the strong egalitarian strand in Marxism is available for those who want to defend women's rights not only in procreation but also in other areas.
There are therefore many similarities as well as differences among the capitalist and socialist population policies. As Moen (1979, p. 138) puts it: every country has a population policy. It may be explicit with highly coercive implementation, it may be a hidden agenda that can be achieved through existing trends, or it may be the sum of implicit and often conflicting policies such as the previously mentioned case of minority opposition to federally funded birth control clinics. Consequently, the availability of birth control in the form of contraceptives, abortion and sterilization, does not necessarily mean that women have reproductive freedom.