International News

Hungarian Nurses Fight To Save Lives With Assistance of US Pro-Life Catholic Organization

A girl is comforted by a nurse and her mother after she gets a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in the Bethesda Children’s Hospital in Budapest, Hungary, Dec. 15, 2021. During the annual National Nurses Week observance in the United States May 6-12, 2023, a U.S.-based pro-life organization celebrated 4,000 Hungarian nurses dedicated to saving the preborn children of abortion-bound mothers. (OSV News photo)

BUDAPEST, Hungary (OSV News) — As the good work commitment of nurses are recognized during National Nurses Week May 6-12, a U.S.-based pro-life organization is celebrating 4,000 Hungarian nurses who are dedicated to saving the preborn children of abortion-minded mothers.

Armed with compassion, information and practical help, a special “medical mercy corps” prepares expectant women for welcoming their babies into their own lives or the waiting arms of an adoptive family.

The Hungary branch of Human Life International started the pro-life program two years ago that now provides 4,000 registered nurses working for the National Directorate General for Hospitals in Hungary with life-affirming education and resources for helping expectant mothers.

The government-employed nurses are trained by 50 pro-life mentors in life advocacy. The mentors also provide brochures about childbirth and abortion risks to the nurses, along with life-size fetal development models an expectant mother can hold in her hands.

Nurses participating in the program are given prenatal vitamins, baby items such as clothing, car seats and toys to pass on to their pregnant patients, along with a directory of shelters and safe havens for women and children.

Hungary’s abortion law requires the midwives working under the National Directorate to inform pregnant women considering abortion about organizations that provide support to expectant and new mothers and their children. But only two referrals to the life-affirming groups have ever been made by the country’s Family Protection Service under this mandate, despite an average of 40,000 Hungarian abortions per year over the past three decades.

Imre Téglásy, director of Human Life International Hungary, noted that only 3% to 5% of pregnant women considering abortion choose to deliver their babies after meeting with Family Protection Service state counselors. He deemed the government program to be “dismally ineffective.” Therefore Human Life International Hungary 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.

“While Hungary’s in utero protection of the fetus is enshrined in the 2011 constitution, and a ‘heartbeat’ law enacted in September 2022 requires mothers to listen to their baby’s heartbeat prior to obtaining an abortion, societal attitudes have been slow to shift,” Téglásy explained.

Téglásy is himself an abortion survivor who has dedicated his life to saving the unborn from abortion and to spreading the Gospel of life.

While constitutionally pro-life, Hungary has continued to bow under the influence of decades of communist, socialist and fascist policy as a result of Nazi, and then Russian, occupations, according to Human Life International.

Under the communist government, which ruled the country from 1949-1989, abortion became the primary means of birth control. For decades, the socialist government’s public health agency promoted and funded abortion in the traditionally Catholic nation.

Human Life International is a U.S.-based organization engaged in providing aid, training and advocacy around the world. It is the largest global pro-life and family organization, active in more than 100 countries on six continents.

The organization provides resources and education on life issues from a Catholic perspective, while providing assistance around the globe, and prepares those training for and those active in ministry to address these matters in their vocation.