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Women in Hungary will listen to baby’s heartbeat before abortion, under new legislation

From Thursday, women seeking an abortion in Hungary will listen to their baby’s heartbeat before they proceed with having an abortion as a new amendment comes into effect.

On Monday this week, an amendment supported by the country’s interior minister, Pintér Sándor, was passed, which requires doctors to record that the pregnant woman was presented “with the factor indicating the functioning vital functions in a clearly identifiable manner”. 

Politician Dora Duro welcomed the decree, calling it a step towards “protecting all fetuses from conception” and said it was a “chance for life” on her Facebook page.

A spokesperson for Amnesty International, Aron Demeter, said this move was “a worrying step back”.

In 2012, Hungary adopted a new constitution that said “the life of the fetus is protected from conception”, though it stopped short of outlawing abortion.

In 2019, Hungarian Prime Minister, Victor Orban, announced that women with four children would be exempt from paying income tax for life.

Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said: “This is an excellent amendment that will hopefully reduce the number of abortions in Hungary. Presumably, it is designed to help mothers see that abortion providers are ending the life of their own son or daughter in an abortion, and give them a chance to think about whether that is something they really want to do”.

“Listening to a baby’s heartbeat makes the full humanity of the unborn baby clear for all to hear. The narrative that women need abortion is extremely degrading to women. It tells women they should be afraid, that they cannot cope with the challenge of a new baby in unexpected and often difficult circumstances.”.

Dear reader,

You may be surprised to learn that our 24-week abortion time limit is out of line with the majority of European Union countries, where the most common time limit for abortion on demand or on broad social grounds is 12 weeks gestation.

The latest guidance from the British Association of Perinatal Medicine enables doctors to intervene to save premature babies from 22 weeks. The latest research indicates that a significant number of babies born at 22 weeks gestation can survive outside the womb, and this number increases with proactive perinatal care.

This leaves a real contradiction in British law. In one room of a hospital, doctors could be working to save a baby born alive at 23 weeks whilst, in another room of that same hospital, a doctor could perform an abortion that would end the life of a baby at the same age.

The majority of the British population support reducing the time limit. Polling has shown that 70% of British women favour a reduction in the time limit from 24 weeks to 20 weeks or below.

Please click the button below to sign the petition to the Prime Minister, asking him to do everything in his power to reduce the abortion time limit.