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Some Soviet allies (Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Romania) legalized abortion in the late 1950s under pressure from the Soviets.
In 1936 Joseph Stalin placed prohibitions on abortions, which restricted them to medically recommended cases only, in order to increase population growth after the enormous loss of life in World War 1 and the Russian Civil War.
Nevertheless, it became clear that illegal abortions continued to take place in large numbers even where abortions were rigorously restricted.
It was difficult to obtain sufficient evidence to prosecute the women and abortion doctors, and judges and juries were often reluctant to convict.
Many were also outraged at the invasion of privacy and the medical problems resulting from abortions taking place illegally in medically dangerous circumstances.
Political movements soon coalesced around the legalization of abortion and liberalization of existing laws.
Other countries soon followed, including Canada (1969), the United States (1973 in most states, pursuant to Roe v.