Although it is the personal decisions of men and women which determine the birthrate, governments have often tried to influence here decisions. Government policies have usually been prenatal, seeking to increase the birthrate. In Recent years some governments, like China, have adopted antenatal policies and sought to discourage large families women without husbands to have and keep children and still live on a level not far from that of a lower-class husband and wife family [janowitz, 1976]., ‘ The most extreme pronatal measures have been adopted in the communist countries of eastern Europe which feel that their birthrates are too low [van der Tak, 1982a] with the Soviet Union not far behind [van der Tak, 1982b]. Cash incentives are offered for maternity. In East Germany, benefits amount to
1,000 marks (nearly $450), equal to a month’s wages. Czechoslovakia spends nearly 10 percent of its national budget in direct and indirect subsidies to encourage childbearing, Abortion, which had been legalized in all the communist bloc countries except Albania, is now also restricted. After Rumania curtailed imports of contraceptives and restricted abortion,
the birthrate promptly tripled to 39.9; although it has since gone down to 18.6, this is still higher than the 14.3 average for 1966 [Berelson, 1979]. This confirms Berelson’s earlier observation that “making abortions legal
or illegal may be one of the most effective’ single ways the modem state has of changing birthrates up or down” [1975, p. 6].. While efforts to ban or restrict abortion and sterilization in non communist countries generally arise from moralistic ‘motives rather than population policy goals, the effects are pronatafist. thus, recent congressional banningof the use of federal funds for most abortions and recent restrictions upon the sterilizing of welfare clients will have the effect of increasing birthrates among the poor.The effects of pronatal policies on birthrates are difficult to measure. Some demographers suspect that the principal effect is to speed up first and second births without much effect upon the eventual size of the family.