Abortion Rights in Israel Won’t Change, Insists Outgoing Health Minister

Major judicial upheaval in America predictably finds play in the Jewish state as parties hone their messages ahead of upcoming election

By Israel Today Staff | | Topics: Abortion
Outgoing Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz says that so long as Benjamin Netanyahu doesn't win the upcoming election, Israel will not follow America's lead in rescinding abortion rights.
Outgoing Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz says that so long as Benjamin Netanyahu doesn't win the upcoming election, Israel will not follow America's lead in rescinding abortion rights. Photo: David Cohen/Flash90

Israel’s outgoing Minister of Health, Nitzan Horowitz, assured everyone on Friday that the Jewish state would not follow America’s lead by reversing the right to abortion.

In truth, there is constitutional protection for abortion in Israel. The procedure is not part of the basic health package, and requires a woman to provide sufficient justification to an oversight committee to have it covered by state funds.

That being said, the committee that oversees abortions in Israel approves nearly all of the requests it receives, even from couples using the procedure as a form of birth control.

Nearly 20,000 abortions are performed in Israel every year, with only 200 requests being denied annually.

Horowitz, who is head of the far-left progressive Meretz party, was seeking to further reform the system so that women would no longer need the approval of an oversight committee, and could receive abortions at will as part of the basic health package.

Speaking to the Kan public broadcaster, Horowitz went on to caution that if his right-wing opponents win the upcoming national election and are able to form a fully right-wing nationalist government, abortion rights such as they exist in Israel could also come under assault.

But the warning sounded like little more than scare-mongering given that current opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu was in power at the head of a right-wing government for more than a decade and never made any attempt to restrict abortion in Israel.

 

Judaism and abortion

Many Bible-believing supporters of Israel are dismayed that the reborn Jewish state allows abortion at all. Indeed, it would seem anathema to Judaism, which places a high emphasis on protecting life.

But Judaism in our modern progressive era takes a rather complicated view on abortion. Recently, however, the situation in America started to get so out of hand that leading rabbis felt compelled to shed some light on the matter.

When the New York state legislature determined that abortions there could be carried out up until the moment of birth, the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) stepped in and said this was wrong.

A statement issued by the rabbinical group at the time read:

“Jewish law opposes abortion, except in cases of danger to the mother. There is no sanction to permit the abortion of a healthy fetus when the mother’s life is not endangered.”

The group’s vice president, Rabbi Daniel Korobkin, went so far as to label abortion as murder, and the fact that it was being made so readily available as a sign of the moral erosion in our societies.

For more on that story, see: Jews Complain: The Rabbis are Sounding Like Christians!

 

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