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.”