The Abortion Conundrum: How Far Israelis Go to Make Sure Their Babies Are Born Perfect

The Abortion Conundrum: How Far Israelis Go to Make Sure Their Babies Are Born Perfect
What do parents do if they discover the baby could be born deaf? Or sterile? Or suffer from a disease? Israelis choose to terminate such pregnancies much more frequently than in other Western countries

By Shany Littman
Jun 13, 2019

It was Yael’s second pregnancy. She had received a sperm donation and gave birth to her first child, a daughter, four years earlier, and went through the same procedure this time, too. All the tests were good but now, because she was 44, the single mother also underwent amniocentesis and paid 2,000 shekels ($550) for a CMA (“DNA chip”) test. The result indicated a problem in the fetus’ genetic sequence.

“The doctor talked about possible intellectual disability and autism, about delayed development and attention deficit problems,” recalls Yael, who lives in the center of the country. (Some of the names in this article have been changed to protect the interviewees’ privacy.) “He showed me a list of all kinds of disabilities, which had a 30-percent probability of happening. That sounded very high. I cried but we reached the conclusion that it would be out of the question for me to give birth to a baby with disabilities. I am a single parent with limited resources. There was no way I could cope with that.”


Half of the Abortion Applicants in Israel Claim Pregnancy Is Out of Wedlock, Study Says

Half of the Abortion Applicants in Israel Claim Pregnancy Is Out of Wedlock, Study Says
A study by the Central Bureau of Statistics found that half of the applicants for abortions in 2016 claimed their pregnancies were out of wedlock to avoid invasive examinations or providing medical records

Ido Efrati
Dec 19, 2018

Half the women in Israel who applied to abortion committees in 2016 claimed they were not married to the man who impregnated them, the Central Bureau of Statistics said Tuesday.

Some nine percent of pregnancies in Israel are aborted intentionally. In 2016, 18,032 women applied to their local termination of pregnancy committee, as required to obtain approval for an abortion. Of these, 92.3 percent were approved.


Fewer Israeli women having abortions

Fewer Israeli women having abortions
Israeli statistics bureau says rate of abortions continues to fall, less than half abortion rate 30 years ago.

David Rosenberg

The percentage of pregnancies being terminated by abortions continues to fall in Israel, according to data gathered by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics.

According to the CBS data, nearly all requests for approval of abortions are accepted by the state abortion board, with 99.3% of requests being granted, compared to just 0.7% which were rejected.


Israel’s Abortion Rate Falls as Birth Control, Traditional Mores Rise

Israel’s Abortion Rate Falls as Birth Control, Traditional Mores Rise
Experts also say fewer young men are seeking to have sex and are surfing the internet instead, including online pornography

Ido Efrati
May 13, 2018

The abortion rate in Israel is dropping consistently for reasons including greater accessibility to birth control and a society becoming more traditional, the Health Ministry said in a new report.

Between 1990 and 2016, the annual ratio of abortions to live births dropped 34 percent – from 150 for every 1,000 live births to 99. The number of abortions for every 1,000 women of fertility age dropped from 13.6 to nine, while the number of requests to pregnancy-termination committees at hospitals tumbled 42 percent, the report said.


Women Across the World Will Die Thanks to Trump’s Misguided Abortion Policies

Women Across the World Will Die Thanks to Trump’s Misguided Abortion Policies

The Jewish concept of pikuach nefesh instructs us to do everything in our power to save a life, even if it means ignoring biblical law. Why, then, should we sit on our hands while women suffer due to the uninformed and cruel decision of a few white men in America?

by Shira Berman
Jan 29, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump’s first ten days in office were replete with shocking executive orders and fulfilled campaign promises. One action that reverberated across the globe was the reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy, or the global gag rule as it’s commonly called.

This policy typically prevents international organizations that receive U.S. family planning funds from providing or even discussing abortion, even if done with their own independent funds, since U.S. funds are already prohibited from covering abortion (both domestically and worldwide).

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15,000 illegal abortions performed in Israel each year, activists claim

Some back-alley procedures called ‘dangerous,’ undertaken by ‘nurses, dentists’; Health Ministry says it has no figures on phenomenon – ‘How are we supposed to know?’

January 3, 2017

by Marissa Newman, The Times of Israel political correspondent.

Some 15,000 illegal abortions are performed in Israel each year, many by doctors who bypass the official approval process but others by unqualified professionals who could place the lives of women in danger, activists alleged on Monday.

The issue of abortions, which are legal but require the okay of a medical termination panel — which approves nearly all cases — rarely captures headlines in Israel. But two lawmakers caused a stir this week when they convened a Knesset committee meeting Monday urging the inclusion of a religious figure on the panels, spotlighting the issue and drawing a furious response from female opposition Knesset members.

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Source: Times of Israel

How Abortion Became a ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Issue in Israeli Politics

Haaretz - Israel News
Tuesday, January 03, 2017.

Speculative move by two religious lawmakers to change the 40-year status quo regarding abortion has sparked furious backlash.

Allison Kaplan Sommer, Jan 02, 2017

Abortion may be one of the most politically charged issues in the world related to religion – but you’d never know it in Israel. While Israelis are eager to furiously debate nearly anything else involving religion and politics – from kosher standards in the army to buses on Shabbat, to women’s prayer at the Western Wall – there is near-silence on the issue of when life begins in the womb.

The status quo that is clung to so tightly has allowed invasive but relatively permissive abortion laws to remain in place nearly undisturbed for 40 years.

This week, though, in a rare occurrence, a proposal was floated that would invite religious input into abortion decisions – and the reaction was explosive.

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Source: Haaretz

Israel: Two MKs seek adding clerics to abortion committees

Rabbi Yehuda Glick and Abd al-Hakim Hajj Yahya ask Knesset committee to discuss the matter; MK Dr. Aliza Lavie finds the existing legal situation for terminations flawed and is 'baffled' by two men's attempts to further complicate it.

by Amihai Attali
Published: 31.12.16

An initiative of two Knesset members from both the coalition and the opposition would add clerics to the termination committee from which a woman seeking to end her pregnancy must attain approval.

On Monday, the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality will consider the subject "the need to add clerics to the termination committee." The matter was submitted recently by two different MKs—Rabbi Yehuda Glick (Likud) and Abd al-Hakim Hajj Yahya (Joint List)—in separate applications for a "rapid debate."

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