Mother and baby
Mother and baby Israel news photo: Flash 90

Journalist Kalman Liebskind used his blog with Maariv/nrg to take the media to task this week for its criticism of the pro-life group Efrat. Several media outlets have implicated the group in the death of a teenager.

The teenager was reportedly experiencing psychological anguish in part due to his girlfriend’s pregnancy. While the teenagers’ families were pressuring them to end the pregnancy, volunteers from Efrat had encouraged them not to abort.

The tragic story and subsequent attack on Efrat emphasize the lack of real debate over abortion in Israel, Liebskind said. Currently the debate is “undercover,” creating a sense that there’s no problem, he said.

“The time has come to put it on the table,” he declared. “If in the United States there is a serious moral debate over abortion, with expressions like ‘respecting the value of life’ and ‘defending the unborn’ taking an important place, we can do the same.”

Liebskind slammed the media for its one-sided coverage of Efrat, which seeks to prevent abortion through education and financial aid. He recalled a media interview by Yael Dan with Efrat head Dr. Eli Schussheim in which Schussheim was criticized by Dan herself, by the sister of the teenage girl involved in the shooting tragedy, by a woman with a list of complaints against Efrat, and in an anonymous letter read by Dan describing a woman who gave birth and now feels unhappy as a parent.

Schussheim replied by repeatedly noting that of the 54,000 women who have kept their babies with Efrat’s help, none have expressed regret.

“What would have made more sense than putting some of those women on the line to see what they have to say?” Liebskind asked. “We heard from someone who gave birth and doesn’t know what to do with her baby, now let’s hear from those who think that thanks to Dr. Schussheim they got the gift of a sweet child, and we’ll try to form an opinion.”

Instead, he said, Israeli media prefers a “brutal” approach “that shoves the bottom line violently down our throat.”

Liebskind noted that on his own radio show, he had interviewed a young woman who terminated her first pregnancy, but kept her second – and married the baby’s father - with the help of Efrat. “’He’s my whole world,’ she told me in a choked voice,” Liebskind said. “’I can’t even think of what would have been if I had aborted him.’”