Israeli Anti-abortion Activists Who Used Confidential Info to Influence Women Get Plea Deal

State won't request jail time for activists who obtained personal details of termination candidates from clinic secretary

Josh Breiner
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Liza Dermer, a Hidabroot employee facing privacy violations charges after contacting pregnant women to convince them not to abort, at the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court, May 2020.
Liza Dermer, a Hidabroot employee facing privacy violations charges after contacting pregnant women to convince them not to abort, at the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court, May 2020.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum
Josh Breiner

Prosecutors will request a suspended sentence for a woman who was convicted of using the confidential information of women who sought to terminate a pregnancy.

Liza Dermer, a 48-year-old anti-abortion activist from Petah Tikva, was convicted last week of breaching confidentiality. She reached a plea bargain with prosecutors under which the original indictment of multiple counts of breaching confidentiality was reduced to a single count and prosecutors will not request that she be given a custodial sentence. The maximum punishment for the offense is five years in prison.

Dermer, the “family purity coordinator” of the religious organization Hidabroot, obtained the women’s personal details from the medical secretary of an abortion clinic and gave them to an official in the organization whose duties included persuading women not to undergo an abortion.

Prosecutors said they also agreed that Dermer could request to have her conviction dismissed.

Prosecutors also reached plea bargains with Dermer’s boss at Hidabroot, Kalina Schwartz, 55, of Bnei Brak. Schwartz, who was convicted of calling abortion candidates using the confidential information, will also be convicted of one count of breaching confidentiality under a plea bargain. She will admit to having received the information from Dermer while “turning a [blind] eye and not checking the source of the names.” In her case, too, prosecutors are expected to request a suspended sentence, but no agreement has been signed and deliberations are expected to resume next week.

The main defendant in the case is Lidor Bitan-Danino, 27, of Be’er Sheva. She has denied the accusations against her and her trial is ongoing. She was employed at the Sheva Einayim clinic in the southern Israeli city. According to her indictment, Bitan-Danino was responsible for submitting the names and contact information of abortion candidates to Hidabroot, for the purpose of convincing the woman to change their minds.

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