The demonstration was organised by NGOs on World Day for Safe Access to Abortion. Most of the speakers protested against the so-called “heartbeat” decree passed in mid-September.
In the middle of September, 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. This has – understandably – angered and horrified many people.
On Wednesday evening, the Patent Association (Patent Egyesület) and the NGO aHang announced a protest against the amendment of the abortion law on Kossuth Square in Budapest. The demonstration gathered a crowd of several thousand people, mostly young people, who marched to the Ministry of Interior building after the speeches, Telex reports. After the official end of the event, which was punctuated by chants, the majority left the scene peacefully.
“The government is trying to make sure that women have no choice and have to give birth even if they don’t want to,” said the protest outside Parliament. Protesters say the aim is to humiliate women and that there are other ways to reduce the number of abortions, such as making contraception more accessible and making sex education viable in the country.
After the speeches, around 7:15, the crowd headed towards the Ministry of Interior via Academy Street. Here they built a “monument” to Sándor Pintér, which presumably the Minister can only see in pictures, because they had to dismantle the structure themselves. “My uterus, my body”, protesters chanted. Meanwhile, a few minutes before 7.30 PM, the marchers arrived at the Interior Ministry building, where they were met by police.
They began to place the hangers in front of the fenced-in ministry building – the organisers had earlier asked everyone to bring a hanger, which is the brutal symbol of abortion performed at home.
“Sit down, State, you’ve failed!” – said Dr. Júlia Benkovics, obstetrician-gynecologist, in her speech. She sought to shed light on the plight of women who come to her frightened after becoming pregnant. She stated that she would not turn up the embryo’s heartbeat, would not turn the monitor towards her patients unless they asked. This statement was greeted with huge applause from the audience. “This is how humane medicine works”, the speech concluded.
The situation of teachers and the abortion law shows how the government is dealing with those who need help, said Barbara Visnyei, a doula, activist and mother of two. “It’s a responsible decision for prospective parents to have a child and not to have a child,” she said. “Whether it’s war or crisis, it’s always timely to rummage in women’s wombs.”
According to the organisers, the government has been curtailing women’s reproductive rights for years, including the ban of abortion pill in 2012, the making of appointments for pre-abortion consultations more difficult and the general anti-abortion agitation, Telex writes. The organisers wrote that what is needed instead are decent living conditions, access to contraception for all and modern sex education. Wednesday’s demonstration was timed to coincide with World Day for Safe Access to Abortion.
Source: Telex, 168.hu