International

As declining fertility rates are a growing problem worldwide, Hungary takes an innovative approach

pregnancy, ultrasound, abortions, miscarriage

Government officials and pro-family advocates from Hungary, Poland, Brazil, and the United States met earlier this week in Washington, D.C., for the 2nd International Conference on Family Policy. Poland and Brazil were represented for the first time. They addressed the stark reality that over half of the world’s population — citizens of the United States along with every single European Union member country included — live in countries with below-replacement level fertility rates.

Rather than counting on mass immigration to offset fertility rates below 2.1 children per woman as many countries have, Hungary shared a different approach. Among the incentives introduced since Prime Minister Viktor Orban took office in 2010 are loans up to $35,000 for parents to cover costs of living like mortgage payments. Furthermore, having three or more children can qualify families for complete forgiveness of the loan. According to the Christian Post, other benefits include ” a state-funded day care system, three years of paid parental leave, free kindergarten, and subsidized vacations.” What’s more, starting in 2020, mothers of four or more children will no longer have to pay income taxes. Hungary furthermore prioritizes preborn babies and nuclear families headed by one father and one mother. Enacted in 2011, Hungary’s Constitution reads “embryonic and fetal life shall be subject to protection from the moment of conception.” The Constitution also upholds “the institution of marriage as the union of a man and a woman established by voluntary decision, and the family as the basis of the nation’s survival.”

 

Hungary’s Ambassador to the U.S., Laszlo Szabo, explained the rationale behind all of these initiatives. “We believe that strong family policy makes the country stronger and the nation stronger. When we are talking about nations, we are not talking about The Washington Post version of nationalism. We are talking about loving your country and making your country more successful.”  Of note, both abortion and divorce rates have decreased in Hungary during the nine years since Prime Minister Orban took office.

READ: Fertility rate of U.S. women plummets to lowest level in 30 years

Joe Grogan, Director of the Trump administration’s Domestic Policy Council, celebrated Hungary’s efforts, and emphasized pro-family steps that the U.S. has taken since 2016. He cited President Trump’s doubling of the child tax credit to $2,000 for American families, efforts to decrease unnecessary regulations on child care providers, and bipartisan promotion of paid family leave as evidence of America’s commitment to promoting strong families. Grogan also stressed President Trump’s commitment to the sanctity of preborn human life, noting that “he has restricted the use of fetal tissue for federally funded research, and published a regulation that prevents the mixing of taxpayer funding for Title X family planning program with projects that promote or refer for abortion as a method of family planning.”

Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland also dismissed the myth of overpopulation, saying “There is a growing realization among western nations that there have been myths propagated over the years. The myth, for instance, that overpopulation is the result of a birth rate. It’s not true. I am a physician. These graphs that present overpopulation is not because we have too many births, it is that people have now stay healthier and live longer because we deliver better medical care.”

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