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Childbearing: a private or public issue?

October 5th, 2012

A left-wing columnist accuses House Speaker and leading Fidesz politician László Kövér of advocating anti-abortion ideas. A pro-government commentator rejects this interpretation of Köver”s words, and suggests that the speaker actually wanted to highlight the demographic consequences of the declining birth rate.

Addressing a conference organized by a conservative women’s association last weekend in the Parliament building, László Kövér suggested that childbearing is not a private matter, but rather a strategic policy issue. During the conference, conservative politicians from Europe and the US advocated restricting abortion rights and banning stem cell research.

According to Népszabadság’s Dóra Matalin, . Matalin acknowledges that such policies are not openly endorsed either by Kövér or by any other government politicians, but she nonetheless suggests that this was the message of the conference, which was organized on the premises of the Parliament. Instead of such a conservative approach, the left-wing pundit recommends the opening of more kindergartens and doing more to improve gender equality at workplaces as better means of overcoming the demographic problems the country is facing.

By claiming that childbearing is not a private issue but should be of public concern, Kövér only wanted to suggest that the decline in birth rates will have serious social consequences for the country, and thus the state has a responsibility to help families, Gábor Borókai writes in Heti Válasz. He believes that the left is trying to misinterpret Kövér’s statements by suggesting that the Fidesz politician intends to restrict abortion rights. Instead, Kövér’s point is that children should not be seen “as private luxury items similar to yachts” which should be paid for by individuals, but rather as socially important assets, without whose future contribution the pension system will collapse, Borókai argues.

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