Edit Frivaldszky is the One of Us National Coordinator for Hungary and a member of the Executive Committee of the Initiative. She is married and has three daughters. She has a degree in English Literature and Linguistics and in Economics. She is the president of the "Together for Life" Association (www.egyuttazeletert.hu) in Hungary, which aims to help pregnant women in crisis to say yes to the life of their babies.
"Together for Life" counsels women and families, organizes shelter and, when the mother so wishes, organizes adoptions.
Its web site explains: "Our aim is to make women feel safe, to make them aware that they have a real choice, and to inform them about the available social services, aids and facilities,"
In Hungary there are 126 abortions every day; most of them are requested for social reasons. According to statistics the highest risk groups of women are those who already have one or two children. The second group is 18- to 25-year-old women who study at higher education institutes. The national social network is very small and very bureaucratic. The government gives financial support to those who apply for an abortion, but hardly supports shelters for mothers or pro-life education.
Here is an interview with Frivaldszky.
Q: When the first ideas for "One of Us" sprang up among pro-life groups in Rome in 2011, you were there: What did you experience?
Frivaldszky: I was there with my husband and our 6-month-old daughter. I thought it could be another step toward recognizing the importance of motherhood, of the connection between the mother and the developing baby inside the womb. I thought and I think that One of Us is a perfect way to draw everybody's attention to the fact that human life begins with conception regardless of whether it is a wanted or unwanted pregnancy. Of course we also face the reactions coming from the experience of abortions, but One of Us is not really about abortions, it is about recognizing life from conception.
Q: You have a beautiful constitution that defends life in Hungary. How is the legislative, political and social situation for the unborn in Hungary?
Frivaldszky: Our constitution protects fetal life, unfortunately it doesn't really cover human life from conception. After the introduction of our new constitution, the legal framework for abortions hardly changed. Some of our politicians realized that in order to change the sad situation about abortions (of every three children conceived in Hungary, one is aborted) first it is necessary to change the attitude towards abortion. There was a campaign with the picture of a 10-week-old fetus in the womb, and a strong media reaction followed it, and also an approximately 7% decrease in the number of abortions. The leading political party has a pro-life attitude in a society with a communist heritage (where abortion was -- and for many, is -- a family planning method). The government started another pro-life campaign to show the beauty of the baby in the womb and the possibility of adoption in a social family crisis. Among the couples and families struggling with economic difficulties we see that people don't have the faith to say yes to the arrival of a new life.
Q: Who are the promoters of One of Us in Hungary? The supporters? Have you got sponsors?
Frivaldszky: Family and religious organizations are supporting the One of Us initiative. We also get support from the religious and political leaders, and many citizens.
Q: Do you have a strong network?
Frivaldszky: We started working with a few enthusiastic citizens. As more and more people hear about the initiative, more and more citizens and pro-life organizations join the collection of signatures in Hungary, but we cannot talk about a strong network. As it is a first European Citizens' Initiative we get a strong media support that helps in spreading the news.
Q: What are you doing to show One of Us in Hungary?
Frivaldszky: Besides the media appearance we try to involve religious communities, pro-life and pro-family associations as well as using Facebook and other internet tools to reach as many people as possible. However, I believe that personal relationships, just like in any other fields of life, are crucial for the success of the initiative, therefore we invite people to join the signature-collecting in their own towns and circle of friends.
Q: What do you think could be the impact of One of Us in Hungary and also in UE?
Frivaldszky: The European Citizens' Initiative is such a new institution in the EU that we cannot really foresee its impacts. I hope that talking about human life beginning with conception will make people realize its importance in their everyday lives. I think that spreading the culture of life and protecting those who are the most vulnerable and defenseless are the key issues of One of Us. We can take responsibility and express our opinion through this initiative.
Q: You are also a member of the executive committee of One of us: it is the first time that pro life associations of nearly all UE works together, is this difficult? Which is your strategy?
Frivaldszky: Sometimes it is very difficult to understand the different legal and cultural differences between the countries. But it is also very exciting to be part of such an international venture. I believe that building a pro-life network will help us represent the pro-life and pro-family views more strongly in the political decisions in Europe. Instead of building the same strategies in every country we have to take into consideration the different attitudes towards the pro-life matters and form our campaigns accordingly. As a member of the citizens' committee I help other countries to make steps in reaching the goals of the initiative.
Q: Why should someone sign up for One of Us?
Frivaldszky: It is a fact that human life begins with conception. It was true even before we could take pictures of the babies in their mothers' wombs and it will be true when scientists will know more about why life starts as it does. One has to sign the One of Us initiative to be part of a historic venture, to be part of a human right initiative as we believe that the smallest human being is also one of us.
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For more information about One of Us in Hungary, contact Edit Frivaldszky at firstname.lastname@example.org.
European Coordination Office in Brussels (www. oneofus.eu, 205 Chaussée de Wavre, 1060 Ixelles, Brussels, Belgium. Tel. +0032 (2)640 77 71; Mob. +0032 488 975 478, Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com; Skype Account: oneofus13)