Israel Responds to Roe v. Wade Uproar in America

Israeli health minister vows to make abortion even more accessible, not allow US Supreme Court decision to “take us back 50 years”

By Ryan Jones | | Topics: Abortion
Protests in the US against the Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade.
Protests in the US against the Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade. Photo: EPA-EFE/CAROLINE BREHMAN

The uproar in America over a leaked Supreme Court draft proposal to strike down Roe v. Wade and presumably de-legalize, if not criminalize abortion has not gone unnoticed in Israel.

Abortions in the Jewish state must go through a special medical committee for approval. But healthcare officials have told Israel Today in the past that these are typically “rubber-stamped.” About 20,000 abortions are performed in Israel every year, with only 200 requests being denied annually.

While that number (per capita) is not particularly high in the developed world, and certainly not when considering Israel’s high pregnancy rate, some have charged that average Israelis use abortion almost as a form of birth control, a notion bolstered by the fact that nearly all abortions in Israel take place in the first trimester.

And in response to what’s happening in America, Health Minster Nitzan Horowitz wants to make it even easier to terminate a pregnancy in the Jewish state.

“If the [US] Supreme Court sends the leadership of the free world back 50 years, it would be a fatal blow to human rights,” Horowitz wrote on Twitter, adding that Israel is “moving forward and updating the antiquated procedures in the Health Ministry that were intended to prevent women from choosing. We are putting the decision in their hands.”

He told Hebrew-language media that it was “obvious” in modern progressive society that a woman should be able to decide unhindered by anyone else to discard her unborn child.

Israel’s health minister wants to do away with the “termination committee” and thus enable women to access abortion as they would any other hospital or clinic treatment. That is if the current government lasts long enough for him to enact such a change.

Horowitz has been crowing about abortion for months already. Back in December he told the Ynet news portal that “any decision or medical procedure, such as the choice of whether to perform an abortion, must be in the hands of the woman. We have no moral right to decide for her how to deal with an unwanted pregnancy.”

He decried as “ridiculously outdated” and “chauvinistic” the fact that in Israel a woman must still explain and gain approval for her desire to terminate a pregnancy, even if, as noted, nearly all such requests are approved regardless of how flimsy the reason.


Does Judaism allow abortion?

Judaism takes a rather complicated view on abortion. At least modern interpretations do. But recently 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,”* reads the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) statement. *”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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