Knesset rejects bill to cancel abortion committees

The Knesset voted 39 to 9 on Wednesday against a proposal to abolish abortion-approval committees. The law currently states that women seeking abortions must get the approval of a committee made up of doctors, social workers and women's health specialists. Meretz MK Zehava Gal-On, who proposed the bill, said the committees humiliate the women and that half of some 40,000 abortions in Israel annually are performed illegally on behalf of women who pay extra to private gynecologists who do not enforce the law. Women's rights activists in the Knesset like Labor's Shelly Yacimovich and Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik did not attend the vote even though they were present in the building. Likud MK Gideon Sa'ar, who chairs the Committee for the Advancement of Women, abstained.