Abortions declined rapidly in Israel during the past 26 years as more women chose life for their unborn babies, according to a new government report.
The Israeli Health Ministry reported a 34-percent drop in the ratio of abortions to live births between 1990 and 2016, Haaretz reports. According to the government, two major influences on the drop were traditional societal values and increased access to birth control.
Currently, there are 99 abortions for every 1,000 live births in Israel; in 1990, the ratio was 150 per 1,000, according to the report. In 2016, 17,990 unborn babies were aborted in Israel, the report states.
It’s clear by the numbers that more women are choosing life for their unborn babies. Even though Israel has averaged about 20,000 abortions a year over the past two decades, the country has seen a sharp rise in the number of babies born, according to the Health Ministry. In 2016, about 188,000 babies were born in Israel, compared to 103,000 babies in 1990, the report states.
And while medical experts said Israeli families are more open and accepting of birth control, they suggested that many families also believe babies in the womb should be protected.
According to the report:
Dr. Aryeh Yeshaya, a senior gynecologist at Petah Tikva’s Beilinson Hospital, said drops in the abortion rate were being observed all over the world. He too points to the greater availability of contraception, but adds that the growth of the Arab and religious communities, which do not readily accept abortion, is also a factor.
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 reported last year. Women must seek the permission of a committee of doctors and social workers if they want to have an abortion; but the committees approve 98 percent of applications, according to the report.
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Abortion rates are falling all across the world.
Late last year, a report in the American Journal of Public Health found the abortion rate in America dropped a full 25 percent between 2008 and 2014. Researchers said the biggest drop was among teens, ages 15 to 19, at 46 percent. The abortion rate also dropped for the first time in 20 years for the poorest women in America – the demographic with the highest abortion rate, according to the research.
Pro-lifers have been working hard to make abortion unthinkable by providing hope, assistance and information to moms and their babies. And as access to information and technology increase, more women are finding out that their unborn babies are unique, living human beings from the moment of conception.