A two-year old program in Hungary that provides nurses with life-affirming education and resources to help expectant mothers has equipped 4,000 nurses with the tools to perform pregnancy help.
Human Life International Hungary began the program with nurses who work at the National Directorate of Hospitals, a government body that oversees almost 100 hospitals across Hungary, in hopes of turning the tide on the social attitude and acceptance of abortion that lingers decades following Nazi and Russian occupations.
Human Life International (HLI) is a U.S.-based organization that provides aid, training, and advocacy around the world. It is the largest global pro-life and family organization, working in more than 100 countries on six continents.
Through the HLI Hungary initiative, 50 pro-life mentors work with the government-employed RNs in life advocacy and provide them with scientifically authentic methodological materials on childbirth and the risks associated with abortion.
Among the items the nurses are given are life-sized fetal development models to share with pregnant moms, so the moms have a hands-on opportunity to see their baby’s development, prenatal vitamins and baby items for the moms, and a directory of shelters and safe havens for women and children.
“We were pleasantly surprised by the openness and valuable attention of the employees of this organization, as well as the sincere interest with which the idea of the professional cooperation we offered and its materials were received and are being received,” said Dr. Imre Téglásy, director for Human Life International Hungary.
The program came about after HLI worked with Hungary’s Family Protection Service and found that just three to five percent of pregnant women pondering abortion chose to have their babies after meeting with FPS counselors.
“This undesirable phenomenon exists despite the fact that, according to the provisions of the current abortion law, employees are obliged to inform pregnant women about the availability of non-governmental organizations that provide free multifaceted (social, lifestyle, emotional, legal) assistance,” Téglásy said.
While Hungarian law requires that FPS midwives inform pregnant women at risk of abortion about organizations that provide pregnancy help to expectant and new moms and their children, according to HLI, only two referrals to the life-affirming groups had ever been made by Family Protection Service under the mandate. At the same time there has been an average of 40,000 abortions each year in Hungary over the last three decades.
The government program was “dismally ineffective,” Téglásy said.
Hungary’s 2011 constitution provides for "the protection of fetal life" and a 2022 heartbeat law crafted by HLI-Hungary requires that mothers hear their baby’s heartbeat before an abortion. Still, social mores have been slow to change.
Despite Hungary’s pro-life constitution, years of communist, socialist, and fascist policy following Nazi and subsequent Russian occupations continue to affect the country. While under communist rule abortion became the principal mode of birth control in Hungary, and for more than 30 years, the socialist government’s public health organization promoted and funded abortion in traditionally what has been a Catholic nation.
“In this situation, we began to think about how we could help as a non-governmental organization those nurses who still have the intact idea of this noble profession, who are ready to take up and use life and family-protecting materials that are correct from a bioethical and medical point of view during their important work,” he said. “These were not available to them until now!”
Thus HLI “went into action and began to consider how to best approach nurses who view their profession as a noble place from which to save preborn lives.”
Tweet This: Human Life International Hungary has been mentoring nurses to provide life and family-affirming materials, pregnancy help to women.
Working with the National Hospital Directorate, Human Life International Hungary affiliates now provide nurses with life and family-affirming materials that focus on the bioethical and medical perspective of pregnancy and motherhood.
The nurses are also given materials to assist in their interactions with pregnant mothers, including:
• pregnancy tests
• prenatal vitamins
• plastic fetal development models showing an in-utero baby at 10-weeks’ gestation
• a series of nine posters showing a child’s development during each month of pregnancy
• a list of maternity homes and safe havens
• information on open and closed adoptions
• baby carriers, strollers, cots, diapers, and baby care products
• referral for pregnancy care help, counseling, parenting, and adoption assistance
Téglásy noted the benefit of pro-life and family-friendly policy.
“One of the main goals of Hungarian family policy is to build a family-centered and work-based society,” he said. “In order to achieve this goal, the government provides as much support as possible to families who have and are raising children so that every planned and desired child can be born.”
“At the same time,” said Téglásy, “unwanted and unplanned children must also have the opportunity to live, be born and grow up.”