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Hungarian women seeking abortion now obligated to listen to fetus heartbeat


Budapest, Hungary – Women wishing to get an abortion in Hungary will now be legally forced to listen to the fetus’ heartbeat, a new government decree states.

According to the Hungarian government decree issued on Monday, doctors and healthcare providers will have to give pregnant women “a clearly identifiable indication of fetal vital signs” before moving ahead with the procedure.

In effect, that means making pregnant women listen to the heartbeat of the fetus, a move many have described as unnecessarily cruel to force upon women struggling with the life-altering ordeal of terminating their pregnancy.

In a statement on Monday, the Interior Ministry said that the legal obligation was meant to pass on “more comprehensive information for pregnant women”.

“This is the first pro-life move since the regulation of abortion in 1956, breaking a decades-old taboo”, reacted Dora Duro, an MP for the far-right Our Homeland party, who said the government had followed his own proposal.

Abortion has been legal in Hungary since the early 1950’s. Even though the conservative government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban enshrined, in the Constitution, the protection of the fetus “from conception” in 2011, the country’s relatively liberal abortion laws have remained largely unchanged.

But women’s rights activists in Hungary have listened with growing unease Orban’s rhetoric regarding the protection of traditional family values, fearing his self-declared crusade to boost Hungary’s declining reproduction rate and urges for women to have more children could eventually result in a tightening of the country’s abortion regulations.

As reported by Euronews Hungary, a recent statement made by Hungarian President Katalin Novák, a close ally to Prime Minister Orban, had already led to speculation that abortion rules could soon be amended.