By Lisa Bourne
ROME, Italy, June 1, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Hungary’s ever-increasing support for families by the government is creating an environment where marriages and families are flourishing and abortion numbers are dropping, one of the country’s ministers advised a recent international conference on life and family.
The support has caused abortion numbers to plunge by more than a third of what they were in 2010 (40,449 to 28,500). It has also caused a plunge in the number of divorces (23,873 in 2010 to 18,600 in 2017) and a surge in the number of marriages (35,520 in 2010 to 50,600 in 2017).
“A precondition of the medium and long-term social development and the sustainability of Hungary is a lasting turn in demographic trends,” Katalin Novàk, Hungarian Minister of State for the Family, Youth and International Affairs, said.
“The objective can be achieved with a stable, complex, targeted and flexible family policy that is capable of adapting to changing needs and conditions,” she added.
Novàk’s office is responsible for the management of the central European country’s family policy. Titled “Hungarian Family Policy in the Spirit of Humanae Vitae and Veritatis Splendor,” Novak’s address was delivered to a May 21 conference in Rome on the topic of “Human Life, the Family, and the Splendor of Truth: Gifts of God.”
The conference was convened by the John Paul II Academy for Human Life and the Family (JAHLF) and concerned the key Church encyclicals Humanae Vitae and Veritatis Splendor on their 50th and 25 anniversaries, respectively.
Christine de Marcellus Vollmer read Novàk’s remarks for the conference. Vollmer is president of Provive and a former member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, and has been a member as well of the Pontifical Council for the Family.
“The Fundamental Law (Hungary’s constitution) attaches special importance to the family, protects the institution of marriage, and states that the foundation of family lies in marriage and in parent-child relationship. It declares that Hungary shall encourage the commitment to have children,” Novàk said.
Hungary’s approach includes assisting families with reconciling of work and family obligations. Considering this “of key importance,” current Hungarian family policy has comprehensive programs to offer this help to families.
Helping families includes maternity support, paid childcare leave, family tax benefits and housing allowance, tax allowances that encourage young couples to marry, encourage young couples to marry, vacation benefits, no-charge holiday camps for children, subsidized textbooks, and decreased utility costs. Families have seen significant financial gains, including a 63.8% increase since 2010 in the net average earnings of the Hungarian families due to the family tax reduction alone.
Statistics on demographic and economic developments in Hungary between 2010 and 2017 indicate an increase in the number of live births and the overall fertility rate, according to Novàk’s report, and the number of abortions and divorces has decreased, while marriages have increased.
Novàk’s address was one of several offered at the inaugural official meeting of the JPII Academy for Life.
A group of Catholic academics and family advocates formed the new laity-led Academy for Life after Pope Francis overhauled the original Pontifical Academy for Life last year.
The pope had not invited back many former Academy members appointed by Pope St. John Paul II, removed the requirement for members to sign a declaration upholding the Church’s pro-life teachings, and in the process he also appointed abortion supporters and implemented a different mandate that included immigration and the environment.
Novàk’s full address is reprinted at: