Hungary: Abortion Seekers Must Hear Unborn

Friday, September 16, 2022 | Tag Cloud Tags: , ,

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By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent reporting from Budapest,

BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – Hungary’s government has issued a decree forcing women seeking an to “listen to the fetal heartbeat” before accessing the procedure.

The regulation, which came into force Thursday, was welcomed by pro-life advocates but condemned by several opposition politicians and women groups.

In its announcement of the measure, Hungary’s Ministry of Interior argued that “nearly two-thirds of Hungarians associate the beginning of a child’s life with the first heartbeat.”

Hungary’s anti-migration Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said earlier that larger families are the best way to halt his Central European nation’s demographic decline. “There’s no future without children. We want our own children, not foreign children, to inherit this country,” the prime minister stressed recently in an interview. “With children, there’s a future, but without, there’s no future for the family or for the country,” he added.

Since Orbán came to power in 2010, his government has pushed “pro-life” and “traditional Christian family values,” angering LGBT rights activists and other critics.

The Hungarian constitution – written in 2012 by the current government – states that “every human being shall have the right to life and human dignity; the life of the fetus shall be protected from the moment of conception.”


The constitution known as “The Fundamental Law of Hungary” also recognizes marriage as between a man and a woman and says the “mother is a woman and a father a man.”

While the government did not yet outlaw abortion, terminations can be carried out only in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy on medical or social grounds. In cases where the fetus is not viable, the procedure can be performed at any point in the pregnancy.

However, a woman seeking an abortion needs a letter from a gynecologist confirming the pregnancy and has to visit family services twice, at least three days apart. While there, she is given counseling on adoption and state benefits for mothers.

Only then can she access a referral for an abortion at a hospital. The new legislation is an extension of the government’s anti-abortion policies, aimed at boosting the birthrate, said Noá Nógradí from Patent, a Hungarian women’s rights organization.

She and other critics fear that abortion becomes increasingly challenging to receive within the required 12 weeks in most cases due to the new regulation and compulsory counseling.

The government also wants to encourage families to have more children with waivers on personal income tax for women raising at least four children for the rest of their lives. There are also subsidies for large families to buy larger cars and increased loans to help families with at least two children buy homes.


And, every woman under 40 will be eligible for a preferential loan when she first gets married.

The government has also said it will spend more on Hungary’s healthcare system and create 21,000 creche places.

In addition, grandparents can receive a childcare fee if they look after young children instead of the parents.

Orbán has said, “in less than 40 years, we have lost almost a million people in Hungary. This is more than all the casualties we sustained in World War II. So for some time, the figures have shown us that we need a decisive turnaround in Hungary – and across the whole of Europe.”

Orbán, a 59-year-old married father of five, has close ties with conservatives in the United States, where “fetal heartbeat” legislation has been introduced in southern states such as Texas and Kentucky.

Under Orbán’s government, the number of abortions has been steadily declining, from 56,000 in 2010 to 23,900 in 2020, amid generous state policies supporting childbearing, figures show.

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