Ministers reject bill prohibiting abortions after 22 weeks

Committee also postpones discussion of bill calling for additional constraints on meetings between prisoners and their lawyers.

Breaking news (photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
Breaking news
(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
The Ministerial Committee for Legislation either rejected or postponed the more controversial bills that it considered during its weekly meeting, held this week on Monday.
One of them, sponsored by Shas MK Nissim Ze’ev, called to prohibit abortions after the fetus is 22 weeks old.
“At this point, it is alive, and terminating pregnancy means murdering the fetus, not ‘aborting’ it,” he wrote.
The ministerial committee rejected the bill.
Today, the Penal Law forbids abortions unless a committee appointed by a hospital director or the health minister approves it for one of a limited number of reasons, such as that the woman is under marriage age or over the age of 40.
Ze’ev’s bill would have blocked permission for any of these reasons if the fetus were more than 22 weeks old. He added several exceptions to his proposed prohibition, but they were more restrictive than the ones in the existing legislation.
The ministerial committee also postponed by two weeks a discussion on a government bill proposed by Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch (Israel Beiteinu), calling for additional constraints on meetings between prisoners and their lawyers.
Aharonovitch said the current restrictions on such meetings were insufficient and could easily be overcome.
Furthermore, new categories of prisoners needed to be added to the existing legislation, including members of terrorist and criminal organizations.
The bill calls to extend the ban on meetings from 24 hours to seven days. The Prisons Services commissioner, with the consent of the state attorney, would be able to ban such meetings for another 90 days, instead of five days under to the current law. Finally, after the end of the second period, the district court would be allowed to extend the ban for periods of half a year at a time, instead of 21 days as the current law allows.
Banning meetings is possible if there is a substantial cause for concern that such a meeting will facilitate a crime that threatens life, public security, state security or prison security.
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel and the Public Defender’s Office submitted objections to the proposal.
The committee also postponed a vote on a private member’s bill submitted by MKs Ophir Akunis (Likud) and Ya’acov Edri (Kadima) calling for punishment of up to a year in jail for anyone who “causes harm to the honor of the state flag or the state symbol, or causes harm to be done to them or uses them in such a way as to cause harm to their honor.”
The current law, which was passed in 1949, calls to punish violators of the law with a fine of 300 Israeli lirot. The MKs estimated the real value of the fine today at NIS 0.03.
Another bill, submitted by MK Uri Ariel (National Union), calls for an amendment to the Companies Law that would permit the registrar of companies to register only those firms that “do not cause harm to the values of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.”
Ariel explained that according to current law, the registrar lacks discretion to refuse to register any company. A discussion of this bill was postponed by one month.