One of the few civil rights still applied risks being drastically limited. From Thursday 15 September the Hungarian women they want abort they will be forced to “listen to the heartbeat of the fetus” by health personnel in the clinics where the procedure takes place, who will in any case have to show them a sign of vital functions “in a clearly recognizable way”. This is established by a new decree issued by the government of the far-right prime minister Viktor Orbán. “Almost two thirds of Hungarians associate the beginning of life of a child to first heartbeat“, Said on Monday the Interior Ministry Sandor Pinter, who signed the new decree.
“Mothers will be able (must!) Listen to the fetal heartbeat”
The heartbeat is the main sign of life, even in the fetus. And it is up to doctors and obstetrics staff to produce a document that certifies this, without which the patient will not be able to access the termination of pregnancy. Hence the new squeeze on the termination of pregnancy of the Hungarian Conservative government passes from here: in addition to the requirements already foreseen for abortion, the new rule makes it mandatory for doctors to present the trial “clearly identifiable of the vital functions of the fetus“. In other words, an ultrasound of the heart. The far-right party Mi Hazank he said he was pleased that “mothers will now listen to the fetal heartbeat”, even if the text does not explicitly state it in these terms. “At least for a few seconds, the fetal baby will be able to be heard by the mother before the abortion is performed,” said MP Dora Duro, one of the supporters of the decree, on Facebook. The law “is not set in stone in a Christian country worthy of the name. Let’s write history!“, He added, thanking the pro-life organizations for their support. According to the parliamentarian, the new measure “will serve to inform about the impact of what is really being done: many people consider a fetus to be just a lump of cells”. Since Orbán came to power in 2010, his government has promoted i “Traditional family values” and introduced a series of measures aimed at responding to the decline in the birth rate in the country. However, he had never previously attempted to change relatively liberal abortion laws.
The abortion law in Hungary
In Hungary abortion has been legal since 1953: the rules governing access to it have not been changed since 1992. According to current legislation, the termination of pregnancy can be carried out in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy for medical or social reasons. In cases where the fetus is not viable, abortion can be performed at any time. However, a woman who wants to have an abortion needs one letter from the gynecologist that confirms the pregnancy and must go twiceat least three days apart, at family services, where she receives advice on adoption and state benefits for mothers. Only then can she get a referral to the hospital to access the procedure. Similar laws have been introduced in many southern states, such as Texas and Kentucky, also following the overturning of the Roe v. Wade regulating its practice at the federal level. In them, women are required to listen to the “fetal heartbeat” before accessing abortion as part of the “informed consent”, although doctors claim that the use of the term “fetal heartbeat” is medically inaccurate when referring to the first few weeks of pregnancy. The sound that is heard during ultrasound scans in early pregnancy is in fact generated by the ultrasound.
Fear of further restrictions
The new legislation, according to Noá Nógradí of Patenta women’s rights organization: “In Hungary, abortion is widely accepted from society. Statistically, two thirds of Hungarians they would like no further restrictions abortion ”, they made it known. “So the government cannot ban the procedure overnight. But a series of small steps towards restriction can pass more easily ”. Nógrádi added that legal abortions have become increasingly difficult since mandatory counseling sessions have become more aggressive and difficult to schedule. Also Amnesty International speaks of a “worrying decline”. This decision, taken “without any consultation” will make “access to abortion more difficult” and “it will traumatize more women already in difficult situations, ”spokesman Aron Demeter told AFP. Hungarian law provides that an abortion can be done in four cases: pregnancy as a result of a crime or sexual violence, danger to the woman’s health, embryo with severe physical handicap, unsustainable social situation of the woman.