Every day in Israel, about 100 unborn babies die in abortions on average.
The number could be much higher if not for the work of the Efrat Association, a pro-life group that offers information and support to pregnant and parenting moms and babies.
Efrat Chairman Dr. Eli Schussheim recently told Arutz Sheva News 7 that the organization has helped to save 68,000 babies and moms from the pain of abortion in the past 40 years.
He said most of Efrat’s volunteers are women who once considered abortion but chose life for their babies after the organization offered to help them. The volunteers reach out to other women to share their experiences and offer information and material support, Schussheim said.
“We do not have a single case of a woman who was sorry in the end that she brought her child into the world,” Schussheim told the news outlet. “However, there are many cases of those who are sorry they had abortions. Happily, there is a decrease in the number of abortions, but the data shows that more than a hundred children a day are thrown into a trash can.”
Later, he added: “In the end, it’s the woman herself who chooses – but before she decides to have an abortion we provide explanation and economic assistance, sometimes for a long time. We accompany the woman all the way.”
Abortion is a heated debate topic in Israel right now after two legislators proposed a new measure that would require more accountability under the current abortion law.
Israel’s 1977 law allows abortions for any reason in a number of situations: rape, incest or adultery, the woman’s or unborn baby’s physical or mental health, and women under 18 or over 40, Haaretz reports. However, women who do not meet any of these requirements must seek the permission of a committee of doctors and social workers if they want to have an abortion.
It is these committees that the proposal would change. Backing the measure are two Jewish and Muslim legislators who said they are concerned about the committees’ lack of accountability. The state committees are known for basically rubber stamping almost every abortion request they receive, according to Haaretz.
The legislators proposed including a member of the clergy on the state committees to help women understand abortion from a religious perspective. They emphasized that the clergy would not pressure the women in any way, but would help increase accountability.
Abortion supporters in Israel quickly responded with outrage, claiming that male legislators want to control women’s bodies.
Schussheim said he does not support the new proposal because he believes the committees should be made up of doctors. However, he said he did float a different idea for the committees 30 years ago.
He told News 7: “30 years ago I proposed to the Minister of Health that the pregnancy termination committee must include a dentist. He laughed and I told him: ‘I learned from a dentist that even when there’s a bad tooth he makes every effort to save the tooth and not have to pull it. I want whoever sits on a termination to expend similar efforts to save the fetus in cases where there is no danger to the women’s health.’ In cases where it is a matter of the women’s health, I’m the first to agree to termination of the pregnancy.”
Reports estimate there are about 40,000 abortions every year in Israel. Schussheim said many women seek abortions for economic reasons.
Efrat responds by teaching women about the options and resources available to them. It also provides groceries and baby supplies, and works with social services to assist women and babies with financial needs.
Holocaust survivor Herschel Feigenbaum founded the organization to save children’s lives in Israel, after moving there in the 1950s.
“… he understood that our children are our future,” the Efrat website states. “In memory of the over 1 and a half million Jewish children who perished, Mr. Feigenbaum founded Efrat to increase the Jewish birth rate in Israel.”