Abortion in Israel: Terms of Termination
A 1977 law ensures a low-cost, and in some cases free, legal abortion to any woman who fills one of four criteria:
In 1980, a fifth criterion that allowed abortions for women living in economic hardship was abolished due to pressure from religious political parties.
A woman who seeks to terminate a pregnancy must appear before one of the 41 abortion committees operating in public and private hospitals around the country. These committees include three members — a physician whose field of expertise is obstetrics and gynecology; another physician who is either a family doctor, psychiatrist, internist or gynecologist, and a social worker. At least one woman must be present on each committee.
Six separate committees consider requests for termination when a fetus is beyond 24 weeks old. No hospitals in Jerusalem, however, will perform these abortions.
In 1999, 19,674 applications out of 20,581 were approved (96%) and 18,785 pregnancies were terminated. In addition, 16,000 abortions were illegally performed in private doctors' clinics. In general, about 40,000 abortions are carried out in Israel every year. The Health Ministry approves about half of them, and private doctors perform the rest, without the supervision of the state and at the cost of thousands of shekels.
See also Abortions in Israel