Pregnant women [illustrative]_311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
A full 98.7 percent of women’s 19,575 applications for a legal abortion in 2010
and 99 percent of 18,999 applications in 2011 were approved by public abortion
committees in hospitals, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported
A little over one-10th of pregnancies in the country end in an
abortion initiated by the woman. This figure, however, is on the decline, as in
1988, the figure was 15.2 abortions out of 100 pregnancies, in other words,
about one in seven.
This is apparently partially due to the fact that
many abortions were performed on immigrants from the former Soviet Union who had
become used to abortion in their native country as a
Today, most of these women are elderly, and the number of
immigrants from the FSU has drastically declined. In addition, the growing share
in the population of religious Jewish women reduces the demand for
Abortion approval committees include doctors, psychiatrists,
psychologists, social workers and clergymen.
Prof. Ruth Landau, an
ethics, birth and IVF expert at the Hebrew University’s School of Social Work,
commented Thursday on the recent tragedy in which 18- year-old Raz Attias was
shot and killed by volunteer police, after he shot at them as they tried to save
his pregnant girlfriend who made a suicide pact with Attias.
The girl was
apparently afraid to apply for an abortion, even though by law she could have
Landau said that the total of applications for abortions has not
risen with the increase in the population and is relatively low compared to
other Western countries, partly due to more contraceptive use.
this, women over 17 and under 40 are required by law to appear before a public
abortion committee and present before strangers their own intimate
One must remember that married, healthy women who want to
abort are forced to get a psychiatrist’s authorization to show [falsely] that
they would have psychiatric problems completing the pregnancy and giving birth –
a very unpleasant situation, to say the least,” said Landau.
expert added that in most Western countries, there is no obligation to go
through such committees.
“This will change only through legislation –
which religious parties, who have been in various coalitions over the years,
Out of 1,000 Israeli women aged 15 to 49 last year, 5.7
of women who requested permission for an abortion were Druse and 6.3 Muslim,
compared to 11.3 Jews and 13.1 Christian. Of the total, 13.2% were girls and
women up to the age of 19.
Fully 45.3% were unmarried and 88% were
applications during the first trimester of pregnancy.
More than half
(50.5%) of all applications for abortion fell under the criteria of women
pregnant “outside of marriage,” while 19.4% involved physical or mental damage
liable to occur in the fetus.
In 2010, 77.4% of those applying for an
abortion were Jewish; 10.3% Muslim; 2.8% Christian, 0.1% Druse and 8.5% without
a known religion.
As in 2011, 45.3% of applicants were single; 42.9%
married, 11.1% divorced and 0.4% widows. The share of single women has risen in
the last decade, the CBS said.
As the share of women from the FSU has
declined, that of immigrant women from Ethiopia has increased.
of women of Ethiopian origin who were born in Israel was lower than their
counterparts who were born abroad.
Almost 70% of the women who applied
for an abortion had never done so before; 21% had a previous abortion, while 9%
had more than one.
A total of 3,742 abortions were approved due to the
risk of a defect in the fetus, but in only 1,544 cases among these was there
pathological or other clear evidence that the fetus had a high probability of
certainty of having a defect.
The abortion rate among fertile Israeli
women (10.8 per thousand) was moderate compared to other advanced Western
countries. The rate in England, Wales, the US ranged up to 19%. However, the
Israeli rate was higher than in Germany (7.2), Holland (8.7) and Norway (8.6).