Civil rights group Patent Association and several other NGOs held a protest on September 28, International Safe Abortion Day, against the government’s newly-announced “heartbeat decree.”
Thousands of mostly young people gathered in Kossuth Square at 6:00pm to start the protest. Demonstrators held signs such as “If you don’t have a uterus, you don’t get a say.”
The speakers at the demonstration demanded a livable country, free contraception, and real family protection, which they believe are needed to have fewer unwanted pregnancies and therefore fewer abortions in Hungary.
After listening to the speeches, the crowd marched to the building of the Ministry of the Interior, where, in addition to banners, also present were hangers, which have become a symbol of illegally-performed and unsafe abortions.
Although it had begun to rain, the protesters enthusiastically chanted “My uterus, my body!” in front of the ministry run by Interior Minister Sándor Pintér.
On September 12, Pintér amended the rules for inducing the termination of a pregnancy without previously consulting with the public on the measure in any way. According to the decree, the health care provider must present “a factor indicating the functioning of fetal vital functions to the pregnant woman in a clearly identifiable manner.”
The Ministry of the Interior confirmed to HVG that this statement referred to listening to the heartbeat of the fetus, although based on the text of the law, an ultrasound examination required to determine pregnancy also clearly identifies fetal life. [HVG]