May 4th, 2015
The Amazingly Progressive Israeli Abortion Policy
Israel’s Health Ministry announced a slate of amendments to its extremely progressive health care policy that involves a government-run, government-financed “health basket.” The health baskets offer free prescription drugs and medical care to all Israeli citizens.
As part of the 2014 revisions to the health basket services, Israel now grants free government-subsidized abortion services for women between the ages of 20 and 33. This in addition to women under 20 and over 40 who were already provided free abortion services.
Free, government-subsidized abortions. In Israel.
Victims of rape, incest or health of the mother have always been allowed to attain an abortion. For other reasons, including emotional stress or pregnancy out of wedlock, women have had to appeal to a three-member panel to request an abortion. But the Times of Israel reports that the panel greenlights requests 98 percent of the time, and with the newly amended health baskets, abortions for any reason will be fully subsidized.
Anti-choice activists and legislators in the U.S. like to use the hyperbolic words “genocide” and “holocaust” to describe legal abortions in the United States. I wonder if they’d ever be dumb enough to refer to Israel’s abortion policies using the same terms.
The contrast between Israeli law and what’s happening in the U.S. with the slow creep of the criminalization of abortion. Here we are in a nation where a sitting member of Congress, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), can deliver a response to the State of the Union and say with a straight face “health care choices should be yours, not the government’s,” while simultaneously supporting a platform that includes government-mandated ultrasounds.
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