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Pro-Life Provisions In Hungarian Constitution Shock EU


I was praying before the tomb of the great Cardinal Mindszenty in
his cathedral at Esztergom, when I heard the news that his beloved
Hungary had passed a new, pro-life constitution. The Cardinal, who
took sanctuary in the U.S. Embassy for 16 years after Soviet troops
crushed the Hungarian Uprising of 1956, would be proud.

Steven Mosher

In a move that has shocked the European Union and drawn heavy fire
from pro-choice and homosexual activist groups around the world,
Hungary approved a new constitution that bans gay marriage, and
protects human life from the moment of conception.

Approved on April 18th, the document also makes across-the-board
changes to the Hungarian political structure, including financial
reforms intended to address the country’s ballooning deficits.
According to Hungarian officials, this constitution is designed to be
the final step in moving the former Soviet bloc country away from the
old communist ways of doing things.

“We’ve just participated in a historical moment,”
parliamentary speaker Laszlo Kover said to
the Associated Press
. “The new constitution is built upon
our past and traditions, but seeks and contains answers to current
problems while keeping an eye on the future.”

Questions have been raised about some of the constitution’s
provisions. Some have criticized a provision that allows the
dissolution of parliament if a budget is not passed on time, but in an
era of ballooning deficits, this may be just what is needed to achieve
fiscal restraint. (Certainly the U.S. Congress would be forced to
seriously address our own fiscal problems if their failure to do so
would put them immediately before the electorate in a special
election!)

Carlos Beltramo, PRI’s correspondent in Spain, says that the new
constitution also gives the government a tighter grip on the mass
media and reduces the power of the Constitutional Court, Hungary’s
equivalent to the Supreme Court. These aspects of the new
constitution, he notes, may raise legitimate concerns about possible
infringements on civil liberties and create other problems down the
road.

What is drawing the most attention from the media, however, is the
fear-mongering of pro-choice and pro-homosexual groups, whose only
reason for bashing the new constitution is that it protects life and
marriage.

The
Hungarian LGBT Alliance
, for example, urged the president
“not to sign the new Constitution into law, and to give a new
opportunity to the Parliament to adopt a truly modern, European
constitution … instead of a political pamphlet motivated by
homophobic prejudices.”

Human
Rights Watch
, which has become stridently pro-abortion over the
past few years, has leveled criticism against the new constitution as
well, fretting that (among other things) its pro-life clauses might
“lead to efforts to overturn Hungary’s abortion law and result
in restrictions on abortion that would put a number of fundamental
rights for women at stake.”

We at PRI sincerely hope that the worst fears of this pro-abortion
organization are realized, and that the new constitution will provide
the legal basis for restricting, if not banning entirely, abortions in
dying Hungary. We concur with Beltramo that, while the new
constitution may not be perfect, it is “the best on the European
continent right now.”

As far as the constitution’s other issues are concerned, Beltramo
holds that, since Hungary is now recognizing basic rights like the
right to life and the right to marriage, that they “can handle
these other matters over time and without jeopardizing fundamental
democratic principles.”

Which is why we at PRI applaud Hungary’s efforts. While the new
constitution may not be perfect, the fundamentals of a free and just
society—the right to life and the protection of
marriage—are now in place.

We now hope and pray that they continue to build upon these
principles and create a society where all Hungarians are welcomed into
the world and raised in natural families.

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