The right-wing extremist party Mi Hazánk (Our Homeland), which entered the Hungarian parliament after the April elections, introduced the law, and the governing party Fidesz, as usual, passed the bill overnight and published it in the law gazette the next morning. It has been in force since Thursday: the regulation that Hungarian women before a abortion to listen to the heartbeat of their fetus via ultrasound.
The latest medical devices, it is said, make this possible, which also means that "more comprehensive information for pregnant women" is made possible. The right-wing extremists had argued that people who wanted to have an abortion would be confronted with the fact that it was a living being.
According to the wording presented by Interior Minister Sándor Pintér, it is now cumbersome to say that when applying for an abortion, a woman must present a specialist medical certificate stating that "the factors that indicate the existence of the vital functions of the embryo have been brought to his attention". . In Hungary, as in Germany, the deadline solution applies. Women can have an abortion up to the twelfth week with reference to a personal crisis situation.
Alleged support for a midwives' association that no longer exists
However, Viktor Orbán's government has long been on a crusade for Christian values and the traditional family. The move in the US, where the Supreme Court declared the right to abortion as unconstitutional a few months ago, is likely to have given fundamentalists a boost in Hungary as well - the new law is very reminiscent of the so-called Heartbeat Bills in some US states. According to this, an abortion is illegal as soon as the heartbeat of the fetus can be heard.
The new law in Hungary does not go that far. However, critics describe it as an attempt to cast abortions in a moral twilight. Aron Demeter, spokesman for Amnesty International Hungary, said the decree would "impair access to legal and safe abortion". The change in the law "came out of nowhere, without any kind of public and professional consultation on the subject."
In fact, the Fidesz government points out in its justification that the national midwives' association also supports the new provision. Apparently, however, this association no longer exists since 2017; he was dissolved. The former president of the professional organization, Rita Nováky, is quoted by several media as saying that the association, even if it still existed, would not vote for this tightening, which according to psychologists makes an "already traumatizing situation for women even more traumatizing and stressful". .
In the Hungarian media, reactions to the new law are divided. The newspaper critical of the government Nepszava comments that the government apparently wants to "restore the rule of state power over the female body in the long term". The Fidesz newspaper Magyar Nemzet praises, on the other hand, that the "Herzton decree" is "a small victory for the lifeguards over the death cult".