A new addition has been made to the abortion application form: obstetrician-gynaecologists examining women seeking an abortion must now record that a clearly identifiable indication of fetal vital signs has been presented to their patients.
The amendment to the decree implementing the law on the protection of foetal life was published in Tuesday’s Hungarian Gazette (Magyar Közlöny) with the signature of Interior Minister Sándor Pintér.
The decree will enter into force on 15 September.
The “indicator of the functioning of fetal vital functions” is the heartbeat, so from Thrusday on
all pregnant women must listen to the fetus’ heartbeat before deciding to have an abortion, according to the newspaper.
According to statistics, there were 23.5 abortions for every 100 live births in Hungary in 2021, compared to 30 in 2018 and almost 45 in 2010.
The price of an abortion is set by the Family Protection Service. There are currently four different tariffs: 28 540 HUF (EUR 72) to free of charge. The free option is available for people in social need.
The opposition Democratic Coalition has called on the government to explain why it had tightened abortion rules.
Judit Földi Ráczné, a party board member, told an online press briefing on Tuesday that Interior Minister Sandor Pinter, “inspired by the hard-right”, had decreed changes without any form of preliminary consultations.
Before every abortion, pregnant women must now obtain a certificate attesting to hearing their baby’s heartbeat, she said, adding that the real reason for the new rule was to introduce a document which is time-consuming to acquire; women waiting for an abortion may “slip beyond” the deadline within which it is still possible.
DK, she said, wanted to know how such an important decision could be introduced in the form of a ministerial decree, bypassing parliament.
“In several countries restrictions like this were the starting point of a process which culminated in the ban of abortions,” she added.