Thursday, April 19, 2012

Why abortion is bad for Hungary

Editor's Note: It is estimated that from 907 AD till the present, due to wars, revolutions and epidemics, about five million Hungarians lost their lives. From 1956 to the present day, it is estimated that there were more than seven million abortions in Hungary. If you do the mathematics, you can see that the number of abortions preformed in Hungary in 56 years outnumbered the number of Hungarians killed since their arrival in Europe. Furthermore, Hungary's population could have nearly doubled in in 56 years!

Generally, abortion is a very hot topic in different countries all over the world. There are many heated debates on abortion from both pro-choice and pro-life camps. Everyone has a position on this contentious issue. One thing that I didn't realize was the high number of abortions that are preformed in Central and Eastern European countries. These countries belonged to the former communist eastern block. Abortion was legalized in many eastern block countries during the Cold War and many young women in these countries took advantage of it. Twenty years later, after the Cold War, abortions seem to be very common. In Hungary, the number of abortions performed in recent decades was quite high. Recently, the number of legal abortions is now lowering due to government action.

Even in the face of aging populations and extremely low birth rates, many young women are still having abortions. The majority of these women are in the ages of 20-24. In Hungary, like many other European countries, there is a very low birth rate. The higher number of abortions in Hungary, contribute to this low birth rate. Another contributing factor to the population decline in Hungary is the fact that people are having smaller families (lesser children). When my grandfather was born in the early 20th century, he was one of 10 children. It was very common during this period, that many rural Hungarian families were having 8 to 10 children!

With the harsh economic reality in Hungary today, it is no surprise that Hungarian parents are only having one or two children. It must be kept in mind that two children per family is the average replenishment rate for a society. If a large number of couples are only having 1 or no children, then eventually a society can face population decline very quickly! If the economic situation is forcing couples to have less children, then the Hungarian government must do what it can to promote more child birth in the country. If they don't do anything, then there can be severe population decline within 2 or 3 generations. The Hungarian government can even offer money to families for every child born or to pay for daycare. It would then be a good incentive to have more children.  

The Hungarian population hit a high in 1980 at 10,709,463 people. Since that high point in 1980, the Hungarian population has continues to decline. In 1990, the Hungarian population declined to 10,374,823. In 2001, the population lowered to 10,198,315. Finally in 2011, the Hungarian population stood at 9,979,000. If this disturbing trend continues, there will be serious societal consequences for Hungary. Luckily, the number of legal abortions in Hungary have been on the decline in the last couple of years. In 1999, the number of reported abortions was 65, 981. In 2008, the number dropped to 44,089. In 2009, the number of reported abortions had further dropped to 43,181.

The conservative government of Orbán Viktor, has worked hard in trying to reduce the number of legal abortions in Hungary. In 2011, the government launched a huge anti-abortion campaign to try to reduce the number of legal abortions. The government made it clear that they do not want to ban abortion but to lessen the number of abortions. They have been criticized by various left-wing organizations for this program.

In order for the Hungarian population to positively grow again, two actions must take place. One, which is currently taking place, is the lowering of legal abortions. The figures show that the number of legal abortions has been lowering. The other, which isn't taking place, is the promotion planned child births resulting in larger families. Even if the economic situation in the country is not ideal for making babies, the government must find ways to promote parents in having more children. If they don't do this, then the Hungarian population will continue to fall. We can only hope that the current trend in population decline will be reversed in the near future.