Hungarian women were horrified by the ‘torture’ of abortion reform

Hungarian women were horrified by the ‘torture’ of abortion reform

By Kristina Veneu

BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Hungarian women deplored the entry into force of an amendment to abortion rules on Thursday in what some see as a first step toward tightening access to the procedure under a deeply conservative government.

Interior Minister Sandor Pinter introduced an amendment to abortion rules this week that requires pregnant women to provide evidence from their health care provider of a definitive sign of life, widely interpreted as a fetal heartbeat, before ordering the procedure.

The number of abortions dropped to about 22,000 in Hungary last year from more than 90,000 in 1990 based on official statistics. However, some women interviewed by Reuters are skeptical that the amendment may weaken the demand for abortion.

“I think this will not change the mind of a woman who has already decided to choose an abortion, so this is completely unnecessary and will only serve to torture women,” Borbala Jonas said on a playground in central Budapest amid a hilarious struggle of children around her. .

Current rules allow Hungarian women to request an abortion in cases of rape, risks to the mother’s health from pregnancy, severe impairment of the fetus or in the event of a serious personal crisis.

Poland, among the most devout Catholic European countries, has a near-total ban on abortion. Access to it has been tightened in recent years under the Law and Justice (PiS) party, Hungary’s conservative nationalist ally, sparking major protests.

“This is my biggest fear that they are taking away our rights step by step, little by little,” said Nora Bakac, a mother in Budapest. “I think it’s a first step, and it’s going from here, to the extreme.”

Right-wing prime minister Viktor Orbรกn was easily re-elected in April, but he is facing his toughest streak in power since a landslide victory in 2010, with the forint breaching all-time lows, energy costs and EU money rising in limbo amid a row over the decline. of democratic standards.

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The government did not provide any reason to modify abortion.

Some political analysts said it could aim to rally more conservative voters for Fidesz in politically difficult times by clipping the wings of the far-right Our Homeland, which won seats in parliament for the first time in April and originally campaigned for the changes. .

Dora Douro, a lawmaker for Our Home, said that even after the decline in abortions of the past decades, there is still plenty in the central European country.

“This is a procedural change,” said a mother of four, holding a plastic copy of a 10-week-old fetus.

“This is necessary because every fifth child born in Hungary falls victim to a miscarriage and this is a very high number.”

Women’s rights group Patent said the changes would not reduce the demand for abortion but could herald a possible tightening of abortion laws in the future.

“Making abortions more difficult will not lead to a decrease in the number of abortions,” spokeswoman Julia Spronze said. “It serves the sole purpose of getting women to feel guilty so that they feel even worse, even more like a sinner.”

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