Reactions on the left to the amendment of Hungary’s abortion law have been deeply disappointing and disturbing.
To be honest, I was not surprised by the wave of outrage that swept through the liberal media. Looking beyond the deeply engrained dogma of ‘my body, my choice’ (and its sibling, ‘freedom of choice’) is not easy, and the loud battle cries of those suspicious of the lawmakers’ intentions deafen even the moderates who might want to hear the other side’s arguments.
As is customary in Hungary when it comes to the criticism of any government measure, the vehement attacks on the amendment of Hungary’s abortion law (explained in a recent Hungarian Conservative article) misconstrue the facts. Practically all reactions, absolutely disingenuously, are based on the assumption that access to abortion has been restricted. This is a blatant lie—the amendment does not restrict access to abortion. Pregnant women wanting to terminate their pregnancy have had to go through a process of consulting a doctor and a commission before the amendment, too. What will change with the new regulation is that before an abortion is induced, women will have to listen to the foetus’s heartbeat. That is, they will be confronted with the harsh reality of what they are about to do—end a life.
Because that is what abortion is about. Taking away a life. But speaking in no uncertain terms, calling a spade a spade is something that liberals have a hard time doing and accepting. Hiding the truth behind pretty words has become their daily bread. And they become hysterical when others refuse to play along.
Other commentators have suggested that with the amendment, the government ‘is paving the way for illegal abortions’
And that mentality is reflected in the commentaries on the left. Some have said that the requirement of women listening to their foetus’s heartbeat is ‘pure evil.’ Let that sink in–it is not abortion that is evil, it is making women listen to the heartbeat of the foetus is! Other commentators have suggested that with the amendment, the government ‘is paving the way for illegal abortions.’ Why? Because those who ‘are unwilling to be harassed twice’ by the health practitioners performing the compulsory pre-abortion counselling ‘have had their abortions performed in Vienna even before the new regulation’ and will continue to do so, but those lacking the means ‘but capable of deciding without emotional blackmail’ about their pregnancies will ‘attempt [the abortion] at home.’ This train of thought is so wrong in so many ways that I am honestly at a loss for words.
Socialist Party (MSZP) Co-Chair Ágnes Kunhalmi declared that the government introduced the change to ‘reinforce the identity of its voter base’ and to prove that ‘the conservative value system will be protected at any cost.’ She hastened to add that MSZP ‘does not believe in such outdated value systems.’ Well, does Ms Kunhalmi suggest that those who believe in the sanctity of life have an ‘outdated value system’? I wonder what the modern value system of MSZP is–the celebration of death perhaps?
Many have cited the commonplace objection that it was a man of all people, and a police officer on top of that (Minister of Interior Sándor Pintér) who signed the new regulation. I will never understand why some feminists insist that men should not have a say in anything that is related to abortion, but at the same time keep bashing men for being irresponsible sexual partners. Others have suggested that ‘first they will make women listen to the foetus’s heartbeat,’ and next they will be forced to give birth to ‘it.’ That is a complete non sequitur, but never mind—it sounds good and incendiary.
What does not seem to reach the cognitive threshold of pro-abortion advocates is that an induced abortion is not like pulling out a bad tooth. Or removing a cataract. It is not healthcare; it is not family planning. The foetus is not just a lump of cells whose fate we can decide about in a whim. If I’m ready, I’ll let it live, if not, out with it? What will it be, Ma’am, an ultrasound or an abortion? Shall we call it a lump of cells or the little one?
The foetus may be in the mother’s womb, but it does not belong to the mother, it is not hers to do with as she pleases
We must speak unambiguously. Abortions are not just about the pregnant women. The foetus may be in the mother’s womb, but it does not belong to the mother, it is not hers to do with as she pleases. Abortions are first and foremost about the foetuses, who by the way will develop into women or men themselves if we allow them. But abortions are also about the men who fathered the babies. Don’t they matter when it comes to such a grave decision? It is most probably not feasible for a number of reasons, but if there was anything I would change about the abortion law amendment, it would be making it compulsory for the father as well to listen to the foetus’s heartbeat.
Last but not least, abortions are also about the doctors who perform them. It is hard to imagine what it must feel like for a physician who has taken an oath to respect and protect life and never do harm to be complicit in the killing of a baby. It is no accident that there are more and more Hungarian physicians who refuse to perform abortions. In Italy, some 70 per cent of gynaecologists are unwilling to provide abortion ‘services.’ The right of doctors to conscientious objection to abortion is in fact protected throughout the EU.
Once we have considered all the above implications, we are bound to comprehend that the heartbeat amendment is not pure evil. It is a last-minute attempt to save a life.