Rabbi David Stav
Rabbi David Stav Yoni Kempinski

The decision to include abortions for women ages 20-34 in the state health basket for 2014 continues to cause controversy. Dr. Eli Schussheim, chairman of the pro-life NGO Efrat, previously slammed the decision; now Rabbi David Stav, head of the Tzohar organization, has come out with criticism of the change as well.

The “basket” of subsidized health care previously included medically necessary abortions, including those cases in which a medical problem was found with the fetus, and abortions for teenagers. The change will mean abortions are covered for all women, regardless of cause.

In the absence of medical need, abortion is against Jewish law, Rabbi Stav told Arutz Sheva. “There’s no question there. The second question is whether the state needs to encourage this and subsidize it,” he said.

“It seems to me that this is a negative breakthrough, in the sense that not only is the state allowing this at the expense of people who are truly ill… but the state is suggesting allocating resources for personal decisions, which are forbidden by Jewish law [halakha],” he explained.

He clarified that he is not referring to the fact that such abortions are allowed, but to the suggestion that they be paid for by the state. “The state is saying, ‘I’m willing to fund abortions of children because it’s financially easier for you, and less willing to help diabetes patients.’ That’s immoral,” he charged.

Rabbi Stav noted that the subject of abortions is controversial overseas as well, particularly in the United States.