Women who want an abortion in Hungary must listen to the “fetal heartbeat” before they can proceed with the procedure as the country tightens abortion laws.
The decree stipulates that health care providers must provide pregnant women with “clear indications of fetal vital signs” before performing an abortion.
In a statement, From Hungary According to the Interior Ministry, “nearly two-thirds of Hungarians associate the beginning of a child’s life with the first heartbeat”.
It says the state-of-the-art device can detect heartbeats early in pregnancy to provide “more comprehensive information for pregnant women”.
Aron Demeter, from Amnesty International Hungary, said the decree was a “very alarming setback”, essentially “putting women in a difficult position even harder”.
He told Sky News: “The only outcome of this amendment is that those trying to access abortion will be more traumatized and stressed.”
Mr Demeter said the organization was calling for the amendment to be repealed, adding: “It’s not about providing information to women to make informed decisions, it’s about pressuring them not to have access to breaking news. pregnant, this is definitely a violation of their human rights.”
Dora Duro, a politician from the radical Right Party of Our Homeland, took credit for the new barrier, which took effect on Thursday.
She said the government had approved her party’s proposal.
“This is the first pro-life move since abortion regulation in 1956, breaking a decades-old taboo,” she wrote on Facebook.
Hungary has relatively liberal abortion laws despite the country’s nationalist government, which sees itself as a champion of traditional family values.
They have remained largely unchanged since the procedure was legalized during the country’s socialist era in 1953.
The government led by Prime Minister Viktor Orban has introduced significant tax breaks and subsidies for families with multiple children in an effort to boost the country’s falling birth rate.
The 2011 constitution also states that “the life of the fetus shall be protected from conception” – although it has yet to take steps to significantly tighten the country’s abortion laws.