However, abortion had been practiced by Russian women for decades and its incidence skyrocketed further as a result of the Russian Civil War, which had left the country economically devastated and made it extremely difficult for many people to have children.
The Soviet state recognized that banning abortion would not stop the practice because women would continue using the services of private abortionists.
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.
Some Soviet allies (Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Romania) legalized abortion in the late 1950s under pressure from the Soviets.
In the United Kingdom, the Abortion Act of 1967 clarified and prescribed abortions as legal up to 24 weeks.
Anti-abortion groups were led by a combination of groups opposed to abortion on moral grounds, and by medical professionals who were concerned about the danger presented by the procedure and the regular involvement of non-medical personnel in performing abortions.The state considered abortion as a temporary necessary evil, which would disappear in the future communist society, which would be able to provide for all the children conceived.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.For example, Henry Morgentaler, a Canadian pro-choice advocate, was never convicted by a jury.He was acquitted by a jury in the 1973 court case, but the acquittal was overturned by five judges on the Quebec Court of Appeal in 1974.