Hungary is running out of people. From 2001 to 2011, the population of the country decreased by 200,000. This disastrous decline has been blamed on everything from the falling marriage rate, an increasing number of women postponing motherhood until after university, moral decay, young people moving abroad for work, and even the music volume in Hungarian nightclubs. Correspondingly, the country been tightening the legal criteria for abortion since 1992 to make it much less available, especially when compared to other European countries.While abortion has been legal since 1953, a new constitution enacted in 2011 states that life begins at conception. Only surgical abortion is legal in Hungary, and women are required to undertake a mandatory counselling service which includes two appointments. The women must leave at least three days between the appointments, known as a "cooling-off period." A doctor is also required to confirm the pregnancy.
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Why are you forcing women to have babies they don't want when there are all these refugees who want to come here?
In 2015, Orbán told journalists: "I think we have a right to decide that we do not want a large number of Muslim people in our country." For Veronica, this reinforces her suspicion that religious bias is clouding both refugee and abortion debates. "Most of the refugees are Muslim," she explains, "and the government doesn't want to repopulate the country with Muslim babies."The Hungarian government's anti-abortion stance attracted international attention in 2011 when politicians diverted European Union funding into an anti-abortion campaign. Images plastered across the Budapest metro system featured a fetus begging its mother: "I understand that you are not yet ready for me, but give me up to the adoption agency, LET ME LIVE!"In December, popular Hungarian singer Ákos made anti-choice comments on TV and said that women should be owned by men. One of the biggest cell phone companies in Hungary, Hungarian Telekom (owned by the German multinational Deutsche Telekom), promptly withdrew their sponsorship of the entertainer—only to lose a lucrative contract with the government.An unspoken "what next?" keeps cropping up in conversations with women like Veronica and Di. What else will the Hungarian government do to make sure that its population crisis is solved by white Hungarians, and not by Syrian refugees? The answer appears to be more of the same—for now.In January, the Abortourism website was shut down by the Hungarian authorities. "It's illegal to talk about abortion, it's practically illegal to have an abortion, now it's illegal to even joke about abortion," says Veronica."At this rate the only thing Hungarian women are going to be allowed to do is sit in a dark room and keep giving birth to babies they don't want—while Syrian women desperately try to find homes for the children they do want."* Name has been changed
It's illegal to talk about abortion, it's practically illegal to have an abortion, now it's illegal to even joke about abortion.