Israel to Ease Restrictions on Medical Abortions Before 12th Week of Pregnancy

Women seeking to terminate pregnancy won't need to appear before the abortion committee and will be able to obtain abortion pills at the offices of Israel's health maintenance organizations

Ido Efrati
Ido Efrati
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
An anti-abortion sign in front of a medical center in Tel Aviv, Israel in 2012.
An anti-abortion sign in front of a medical center in Tel Aviv, Israel in 2012.Credit: Moti Milrod
Ido Efrati
Ido Efrati

An Israeli parliamentary committee eased "outdated" restrictions on medical abortions for women until the 12th week of pregnancy on Monday, allowing them to obtain abortion pills at the health maintenance organization's offices and scrapping the requirement to appear before an abortion committee.

Just days after the U.S. Supreme Court repealed the constitutional right to abortion, the Knesset Labor and Welfare Committee authorized a proposal to amend regulations that relax the procedures for medical abortion, which will take effect within three months.

On top of allowing women to avoid physically appearing before the abortion committee, questions perceived as degrading will be removed from the original form.

After a year of laying the groundwork, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz and his Meretz colleagues MKs Michal Rozin and Gaby Lasky have managed to make a small crack in the wall of Israel’s unbending policy on abortion.

In reaction to the announcement of the reform, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz said: "When I saw the procedures required for the abortion committee, it seemed like something from another time. These outdated regulations were written under a chauvinistic view that a woman's opinion is not valid. Women should be the sole decision makers on whether to terminate a pregnancy. Today's reform will grant more freedom for women. It's time to enter the 21st century."

Under the existing law, the committee may approve the termination of the pregnancy if the pregnancy was caused as a result of rape or incest; when the pregnancy may endanger the woman's life or may cause her physical or mental harm; when the woman is not married or the conception is out of wedlock; when the child may have a physical or mental defect; or in the case of a woman under the age of 18 or aged 40 or over.

In 2020, 6,734 abortions were performed in Israel, and 55 percent of them were performed under 9-week pregnancy.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN


Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer

Newly appointed Israeli ambassador to Chile, Gil Artzyeli, poses for a group picture alongside Rabbi Yonatan Szewkis, Chilean deputy Helia Molina and Gerardo Gorodischer, during a religious ceremony in a synagogue in Vina del Mar, Chile last week.

Chile Community Leaders 'Horrified' by Treatment of Israeli Envoy

Queen Elizabeth attends a ceremony at Windsor Castle, in June 2021.

Over 120 Countries, but Never Israel: Queen Elizabeth II's Unofficial Boycott