Wednesday January 6, 2010

Abortion Numbers Down in Israel

By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

JERUSALEM, January 6, 2010 ( – The Department of Health in Israel has released the latest figures on abortion in the country showing that the abortion rate has dropped 10% between 2000 and 2008. As well, the number of abortions performed during the last two months of pregnancy fell from 46 in 2007 to 34 in 2008.

The number of late term abortions in 2007 led the Department of Health to strengthen its restrictions on abortions in late pregnancy, demanding that women prove that their unborn child was at least 30% “likely” to have a physical or mental deformity if the pregnancy was allowed to go to full term, the report says.

Abortions in Israel are authorized by hospital committees, but their approval of abortions in cases of rape, incest, adultery, if the woman is under 17 years of age or over 40, if the woman’s health is at risk, or if the baby is suspected to have a physical or mental handicap has led to practical abortion on demand.

Israeli law requires that all women seeking an abortion must obtain the approval of a hospital committee. The statistics indicate that 98% of applications are approved.

According to the Department of Health report, 19,594 abortions took place in Israel in 2008, which translates to 129 abortions per 1,000 births.

However, Dr. Eli Schussheim, director of the Israeli anti-abortion organization Efrat, has stated that over 50,000 abortions are performed yearly in Israel, only 20,000 of which are legal and therefore reported.

A statement by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel points out that, “The vast majority of abortions are unnecessary and strictly forbidden according to halacha because they are carried out even when the pregnancies do not endanger the mother’s health.”

Efrat warns that the demographic implications of abortion in Israel are the greatest danger to the country today.

“Israel has lost more than one and a half million Jewish children to abortion since 1948. In a country of about 5.5 million Jews this number has great demographic significance. Imagine how much stronger Israel would have been today with one million more Jews,” a statement from Efrat says.

See related LSN articles:

People of Israel Sharply Divided Over Abortion

Chief Rabbis of Israel Rule Abortion “a Grave Sin”