As many of our readers know, The Jerusalem Connection actively supports pro-life efforts in Israel through our ministry, “Operation Life for Israel.” What may be less known is the very serious abortion crisis Israel faces today.
In 1977, Israel passed a law to ensure a woman the right to a free or low-cost abortion. Since then, elective abortion has become a widely accepted practice. Israel’s yearly average of abortions is up to 50,000, half of these are conducted in illegal and unregulated clinics.
One reason for Israel’s high abortion rate is because, in contrast to America, the pro-life movement has been very weak. Many Orthodox Jews believe abortion is forbidden according to scripture, but there has been no unified political response. The orthodox Shas party tried to pass bills criminalizing abortion but achieved no more than a brief reopening of the abortion debate. The Jerusalem Connection’s pro-life partner organization, Be’ad Chaim, is emerging as the primary and most forthright pro-life voices in Israel. Be’ad Chaim is a messianic Jewish organization staffed by solid believers, the head of which Jim Hutchens has known for years.
These pro-life organizations have been assisting expectant and new mothers for over thirty-five years. Their holistic approach in offering support to pregnant women is based on the belief that too often abortion seems like a woman’s only choice. This may result from her socio-economic problems or because of a lack of information about abortion and its alternatives. To combat these tragic tendencies, they have a variety of programs and a twenty-four hour hotline to provide women with the information they need to make informed decisions and to relieve the social and financial pressure pregnant women face.
Israel’s pro-life organizations have an approach in educating women that is proactive and preemptive. To raise public awareness, they are active on social media and on the ground, spreading medical facts about abortion and the involved moral principles. These resources clarify the physical and psychological consequences of abortion. In addition to the publications, they also hold public lectures and media presentations on pregnancy and parenthood. Crisis pregnancy centers have been established all over the country where volunteer teams of doctors, psychologists, social workers, and rabbis are readily available to answer questions and provide counsel.
Their efforts have seen thousands of women every year make informed decisions to have their babies despite financial and social stress. For these mothers and their children, the organizations provide all their primary needs. The first year the women receive a monthly allowance, food stipend, and regular supply of diapers. They also are equipped with necessary baby equipment: cribs, bassinets, strollers, clothes, and bottles. Most importantly, there are thousands of pro-life volunteers that create a vital system of social and moral support.
Because of The Jerusalem Connection’s commitment to be pro-active instruments of God’s love for Israel and all Jewish people (including the unborn), we have partnered with Israel’s pro-life organizations in their important work. Considering Israel’s demographic problems and the emphasis put on bringing Jews to Israel from abroad, it is critical not to forget the unborn Jewish children who are waiting to make their “inner Aliya.” Last year, this inner Aliya brought a larger number of Jews to Israel than the entire Aliya from North America.