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The Washington Independent

‘Personhood’ video looks to Hungary proposal as proof abortion can be criminalized in U.S. states

The national anti-abortion rights group Personhood USA, whose main efforts are to help states pass so-called “personhood” constitutional amendments, has

Paolo Reyna
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Aug 09, 2011

The national anti-abortion rights group Personhood USA, whose main efforts are to help states pass so-called “personhood” constitutional amendments, has been promoting a video that makes a state’s ability to criminalize abortion seem rather simple.

“Could defining children as unborn people really work?” asks an animated “Molotov Mitchell” in the Illuminati Pictures video produced as part of its weekly political series “For the Record.”

“It has already worked!” Molotov Mitchell continues. “In Hungary just this year, the Hungarian people have adopted a new constitution, a modern constitution, that’s been hailed as the first constitution for the 21st century. In Article II, this brave new constitution also addresses personhood.”

He goes on to quote an English translation of the provision: “Human dignity is inviolable. Everyone has the right to life and human dignity; the life of a fetus will be protected from conception.”

“Boom! Abortion is hereby banished from Hungary forever,” Molotov Mitchell declares. “If an entire nation can define personhood in its constitution and thereby eradicate the scourge of the abortion industrial complex overnight, then I think your tiny little state can too.”

For the record, Hungary did not actually ban abortion overnight. The country’s new constitution, which was passed by the Hungarian Parliament (262 to 44) on April 18, is only due to go into effect next year. Molotov Mitchell fails to address the amount of controversy generated by the constitutional provision stipulating that the life of the fetus will be protected at conception.

International abortion-rights groups such as the Center for Reproductive Rights and Amnesty International have been campaigning against the provision, claiming that it will restrict access to abortion.

Additionally, the European Commission on Democracy Through Law, also known as the Venice Commission, in June released its [opinion](http://www.venice.coe.int/docs/2011/CDL-AD(2011\)016-E.pdf) (PDF) of the new constitution, suggesting future confusion and problems Hungarian lawmakers will likely face when dealing with abortion-related legislation, thanks to the new provision. The commission ultimately concluded that the provision did not guarantee “the absolute right to life” of a fetus.

From the [Venice Commission’s review](http://www.venice.coe.int/docs/2011/CDL-AD(2011\)016-E.pdf) (PDF):

[T]his does not result in the recognition of an absolute right to life of the foetus. If Article 2 ECHR were held to cover the foetus, and its protection under this article were, in the absence of any express limitation, seen as absolute, an abortion would have to be considered as prohibited even where the continuance of the pregnancy would involve a serious risk to the life of the pregnant woman. This would mean that the unborn life of the foetus would be regarded as being of a higher value than the life of the pregnant woman. … Article II of the Hungarian Constitution … does not necessarily imply an obligation for the Hungarian State to penalise abortion. Weighing up the various, and sometimes conflicting, rights or freedoms of the mother and the unborn child is mandatory. … It is, at present, not clear how the Hungarian legislator will regulate abortion in the future. Concerns have been expressed that this provision might be used to justify legislative and administrative action restricting or even prohibiting abortion.

Meanwhile, the European Union discovered in June that EU money was being used to fund a campaign to support the constitutional provision. EU officials demanded that the campaign cease.

From EurActiv.com:

The funds, taken from EU employment and social solidarity programme PROGRESS, provide the bulk of financing for the €416,000 anti-abortion campaign. The scheme included putting up posters in the Budapest metro with an image of a foetus (pictured) addressing its mother: “I understand that you are not yet ready for me, but give me up to the adoption agency, LET ME LIVE!”

Watch the video:

Paolo Reyna | Paolo is a senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, majoring in International Studies with a Latin American emphasis. During the fall semester of 2012, he had the opportunity to study abroad in Peru, which piqued his interest in international growth. He learned about the disparities that impact indigenous peoples, got a taste of Peruvian culture, and improved his Spanish skills. Mitchel interned with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, conducting research on food security in Latin America, after being inspired by his foreign experience. He wants to work in international development and for a government department, writing legislation. He loves playing intramural basketball and practicing for the Chicago marathon when he is not thinking about current events in Latin America.


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