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Abortion Rates are Down by 19%

In recent years, legal abortion has become 19% less common, officials say. Head of pro-life group happy, but not satisfied.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 2/6/2011, 7:08 PM / Last Update: 2/6/2011, 7:25 PM

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The number of legal abortions performed in Israel per year has fallen by 19% in recent years, according to data released by the Health Ministry this week. Arutz Sheva spoke to Doctor Eli Schussheim, head of the pro-life group Efrat, about the news.

The new data “makes us very happy,” Schussheim said. “We have been fighting this plague for more than 34 years,” he said of elective abortion.

However, there remains much work to be done, he said. “We have been following the data for years and the number gets lower and lower, but it is not enough. There are tens of thousands of children who could be born, and we must prevent them from being aborted.” He estimated that for each abortion performed legally through the Health Ministry, another is performed by a private doctor.

Efrat seeks to prevent abortion through education and financial aid to mothers-to-be, and not via legislation. Dr. Schussheim believes that the organization's work on educating women about fetal development is key.

Efrat also offers women financial assistance for a year after birth, due to Schussheim's belief that financial woes are behind many abortions. 

The group has convinced more than 25,000 women not to abort their pregnancies. The number of success stories has risen over the years as the group grows larger and better known.

Schussheim lamented the fact that some feminist organizations are critical of Efrat. His organization empowers women, he said, by giving them the information they need to make a truly informed decision.

“It is important to us that feminists recognize that ability to choose, that the woman should get the information and make an informed decision. I never told a woman not to abort, only that she should know the truth,” he said.