Orbán opposes any amendment to abortion law – only days after thousands protested it

September 30. 2022. – 09:58 AM



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After more than a two-month hiatus, this morning Prime Minister Viktor Orbán gave an interview on state-owned Kossuth Rádió again. One of the current issues he reflected on was the question of the recent amendment to Hungary’s abortion law.

“Abortion is regulated by law in Hungary. This law was passed by the Hungarian parliament quite a long time ago, and it "put to rest the always heated debates around abortion". There is no perfect abortion law, but the one we have is one that "Hungarian society can live with", so "it would be a mistake to change this law". “I rigidly oppose any amendment to the abortion law, I am in favour of maintaining the current system”

-the Prime Minister said. He added that we are in the middle of a crisis, and in such circumstances this is not the issue to be dealt with, and even if we were to deal with it, the Prime Minister considers it unthinkable to amend Hungary's current abortion law.

The news that an amendment has been made to the the abortion law was published in the Hungarian Gazette on September 13th with the signature of Interior Minister Sándor Pintér. According to the decree, as of 15 September 2022, obstetrician-gynaecologists examining women seeking an abortion must record that a clearly identifiable indication of fetal vital signs has been presented to their patients.

According to the press release Telex received from the Ministry at the time, a new professional health guideline on the establishment and risk classification of intrauterine live pregnancy was adopted due to more sophisticated diagnostic tools being available, which will allow pregnant women to receive information about their unborn child earlier than before:

"Research shows that nearly two-thirds of Hungarians associate the beginning of a child's life with the first heartbeat. Modern equipment can detect heartbeat early in pregnancy, and the guideline recommends providing a fuller range of information to pregnant women. In line with the new health professional guideline, the ministry has also amended the relevant regulations," the press release read.

The news about the change in the law caused an uproar among Hungarian women, and a protest attended by thousands was held in Budapest just a few days ago.

Viktor Orbán avoids critical questions at home. It’s been years since he gave an interview to independent media. However, for years, every Friday morning he has been a regular guest on state-owned Kossuth Rádió, where he is interviewed by a leading editor of the public broadcasting service (operating from an annual budget of 320 millions of euros). Katalin Nagy has been almost exclusively the only person to be allowed to interview Orbán on the state-owned channel throughout his third term with a two-thirds majority in parliament. She has received the state decoration of the Cross of the Order of Merit of Hungary and doesn’t shy away from asking questions.

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The translation of this article was made possible by our cooperation with the Heinrich Böll Foundation.