Abortion: The One Issue That Can Make Enemies of Israel and America at the UN
Israel and the US are often of one mind at the UN, except when it comes to abortion, which Jerusalem supports
Ever since President Donald Trump's election, Israel and the United States have present a strong united front in the halls of the United Nations. But on Monday, America found itself being voted against by Israel at the General Assembly.
The issue up for debate was sexual harassment and the #MeToo movement.
The Trump Administration sought to water down portions of a non-binding resolution pertaining to the matter, in particular clauses that affirmed a woman's right to terminate her unborn child. The US was backed in this endeavor by Russia, China, India, a number of Muslim countries and the Vatican.
"We do not recognize abortion as a method of family planning, nor do we support abortion in our reproductive health assistance," US diplomat Courtney Nemroff told the world body.
But Trump's amendment to the resolution was defeated, and among the countries voting against it was Israel.
Abortion is rampant in Israel, though rates have been declining for the past two decades. While it requires approval by a special committee, that approval is so easy to obtain that abortion is often used as a form of birth control in the Jewish state. Even so, about half of the estimated 40,000 abortions performed every year in Israel take place at private clinics without committee approval. This is technically illegal, but there have been no known prosecutions related to the practice.