Hungary’s abortion rate plummets as new family policies are brought in: No income taxes for women with 4 kids

By Jonathon Van Maren

Sometime last year, I got a phone call from a reporter from the Huffington Post who was working on a piece that was obviously intended to be a hatchet job directed at the pro-life movement. She quizzed me intensely on the alt-right and abortion, and seemed genuinely surprised when I pointed out that the alt-right is extremely pro-abortion. She then demanded to know if I supported social programs specifically designed to disincentivize abortion. She genuinely didn’t seem to know what to say when I said that I did, and noted that I’d far rather pay taxes to give women the means to keep their children than to fund abortion here and overseas (which Canada does to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars a year, cash that could be used to help women with options other than abortion.) After a nearly hour-long conversation, the reporter told me she’d send me a copy of the piece she was working on once it was published. I never heard from her.

That is why the media genuinely doesn’t seem to know how to cover the pro-family policies of Viktor Orban in Hungary (although each article hastens to point out that Orban is on the outs with the EU and that he has been accused of being shady during elections.) Orban is essentially using social programs to incentivize marriage and children, and is doing so in response to a plummeting birthrate. From CNBC:

Hungary’s prime minister has announced a raft of measures aimed at boosting the country’s declining birth rate and reducing immigration. Giving his annual State of the Nation address Sunday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced a seven-point “Family Protection Action Plan” designed to promote marriage and families.

Measures announced included waivers on personal income tax for women raising at least four children for the rest of their lives and subsidies for large families to buy larger cars. The ‘action plan’ also extended a loan program to help families with at least two children to buy homes. Every woman under 40 will also be eligible for a preferential loan when she first gets married.

The government has also said it will spend more on Hungary’s heathcare system and will create 21,000 creche places. In addition, grandparents will be eligible to receive a childcare fee if they look after young children instead of the parents, Orban said.

“There are fewer and fewer children born in Europe. For the West, the answer (to that challenge) is immigration. For every missing child there should be one coming in and then the numbers will be fine,” Orban said, Reuters reported. “But we do not need numbers. We need Hungarian children,” he said, announcing the incentives program…

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban addresses the supporters after the announcement of the partial results of parliamentary election in Budapest, Hungary, April 8, 2018.

Orban is a well-known critic of immigration and Hungary’s government caused controversy in the European Union, of which Hungary is a member, when it (along with its eastern European neighbors) refused to allow asylum seekers to enter the country during the migration crisis in the continent in 2015…Like other conservative, nationalist governments in Europe, Hungary is worried about migration and its declining birth rate. Eurostat data from mid-2018, the latest available, shows that the birth rate is continuing to decline in the EU as a whole. In 2017, 5.1 million babies were born in the EU, 90,000 less than the year before. In the same year, 5.3 million deaths were registered.

While birth rates remain robust in Ireland, Sweden, the U.K. and France, the lowest birth rates were registered in Italy, Greece, Portugal and Spain. Birth rates in Hungary are below the EU average – In Hungary the crude birth rate in 2017 was 9.7 per 1,000 residents, just below the EU average of 9.9 per 1,000 residents.

In 2017, 94,600 live births were registered in Hungary and 131,900 deaths were registered, equating to a population decline of just over 37,000 people, Eurostat data shows.

Orban’s policies have already contributed to a decline in the abortion rate, with LifeSite reporting in 2018 that numbers had dropped by more than a third compared to what they were in 2010—40,449 to 28,500. Divorces also declined, with 23,973 in 2010 compared to 18,600 in 2017 as well as a surge in marriages (35,520 in 2010 compared to 50,600 in 2017.) Interestingly, Orban’s policies prove what Tucker Carlson has been saying to great controversy in the US for a couple of years now: Government’s economic policies play an enormous role in incentivizing or disincentivizing family, and as such social conservatives should consider the role of markets and the government in the breakdown of the family.

A final point: In his seminal book The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam, British journalist Douglas Murray makes the point that many Europeans that want children are not having children, and that the elites have made absolutely no attempt to find out the reasons that people are not having kids as well as ways of incentivizing them to do so. Why, Murray asked, are the elites so eager to solve plummeting birthrates in Britain by importing other populations? Viktor Orban is essentially answering that question, and is using the government programs so beloved by liberals to strengthen the family—which is precisely why the elites are so uncomfortable with Orban’s policies, but do not seem to know quite what to say about them.


For anyone interested, my book on The Culture War, which analyzes the journey our culture has taken from the way it was to the way it is and examines the Sexual Revolution, hook-up culture, the rise of the porn plague, abortion, commodity culture, euthanasia, and the gay rights movement, is available for sale here.

7 thoughts on “Hungary’s abortion rate plummets as new family policies are brought in: No income taxes for women with 4 kids

  1. William Levi says:

    What an excellent piece of article ever documented on account of a long awaited direction EU nation should have undertaken to addressed to restore it crumbling population.? We thank God for the Prime Minister of Hungary for standing up for life, setting up policy to preserve life, marriage and family to strengthen and renplishes the population of his country.

  2. Maria says:

    Pro family is a good position. But how is this plan helpful when there is an over 40% income tax on the poor husband who is most likely going to be bringing the larger income? Or is Hungary going back to its communist roots and arranging that children be cared for by the state care facilities as early as possible so the mothers can go to work income tax free?

    Take a good careful look at that plan. Check out the studies that have been done on pronatalist policies. Money hardly ever has much of an effect. it would be better to free up the wage earners from the overly high income tax and ban abortion.

  3. Steve Weatherbe says:

    The EU elite believes it can take Muslim immigrants in and secularize them, or , at least, get them to privatize their religious beliefs, as it has successfully done with most Western Europeans.
    Is its confidence justified?

  4. Mary McGarvey says:

    Are Hungarian women with four or more kids in the workplace? Is the husband the main caregiver or some grandparents?

    What the Nazis did to quickly raise the marriage and birthrate: First, in 1933, discourage women from working by just plain throwing 80,000 of them out of government jobs (Beamer eg post office workers). They then gave a hefty salary increase to these jobs and gave them to men. Those men in general who chose to marry then were given super cheap apartments, rapidly built as more make-work employment although sorely needed in any case after WWI. If the wife had a child, she could stay home and be given generous benefits.
    The main logic of the Nazi pronatal program was that the male wages were too low, since legally all businesses could offer the same job to a woman for thirty percent or less. Naturally with inflation and economic crisis, an employer would choose the cheaper and more compliant women, who could be part time etc. masses of women are seen working in Berlin during the 1920’s while men hung about the streets unemployed.
    If the jobs could be given to men, then the men might feel it was safe to marry and have kids, rather than just postpone it all for a while. The women postponed because the men did.

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