Termination of pregnancy (abortions) are performed according to Israeli law and require approval from a pregnancy termination committee
The committee may only approve termination of pregnancy if it is justified according to one of the reasons established by the law and on condition that it received the woman's informed consent
Termination of pregnancy without the approval of the committee may be considered a criminal offense
In order to perform an abortion, a pregnancy termination committee which has been given the authority to approve termination of pregnancy according to The Penal Law must be contacted.
Conditions Under Which the Committee may Approve a Termination of Pregnancy
- According to Section 316 of The Penal Law, the committee is authorized to approve termination of pregnancy in the following cases:
- If the woman is younger than 18 or older than 40
- If the woman is not married or the pregnancy is not from the marriage
- If the pregnancy is the result of relations which are illegal according to criminal law, or are incestuous.
- If the child is liable to be born with a physical or mental birth defect
- If continuation of the pregnancy is liable to endanger the life of the mother or cause her physical or emotional harm
- The committee may only make decisions regarding requests where the pregnancy is less than 24 full weeks according to an ultrasound confirming the stage of the pregnancy. When the pregnancy is past than 24 weeks it is passed on to a special committee.
Who is Eligible?
- Any woman interested in terminating a pregnancy.
How to Claim It?
- A woman interested in terminating a pregnancy may contact any committee in Israel in any hospital or surgical clinic regardless of her place of residence.Click here for a list of the committees with contact information.
- Each hospital and committee has different procedures regarding requests and hearing times, so it is necessary to call them to obtain specific information.
- Applicants to a committee must have an official form of identification such as an identification card (teudat zehut), passport or drivers license.
- Relevant medical documentation, in accordance with each hospital's procedures, must also be brought to the committee (usually blood test results and ultrasound images).
- At the beginning of the process, the committee social worker or nurse will explain the procedures regarding the request to the woman. Then the woman is entitled to speak with a doctor who will explain the risks of an abortion and potential outcomes.
- In a case in which the reason for the request is concern of a birth defect or the health of the mother, it is possible to consult with an additional medical specialist, who may be contacted with the assistance of the woman's attending physician or the committee.
The Committee's Decision
- The committee's decision is generally given immediately. Approval for termination of pregnancy must be given in writing including the justification for the approval.
- Afterwards, a date for the procedure is set. The abortion must be performed in the same hospital where the committee approval was given.
- If the committee intends to refuse a termination request, it must give the applicant an opportunity to appear before it and explain to her why it was refused.
- If the committee refuses the request for termination of pregnancy, the applicant may contact a committee within a different medical institution (a new referral fee must be paid if a new committee is contacted).
The Process for Girls Under the Age of 19
- The girl is entitled to full compensation from her health plan for the committee process and the actual termination, but she entitled to pay for it privately if she wishes and she will charged the full fee amount.
- Pregnancy terminations for girls are done in hospitals only. The hospital committees are obligated to take any girl that turns to them.
- The girl must present with a form of identification with an up-to-date picture. If all of the documents do not match up, the social worker will check the girl's basic details with her (name, ID number if she has one, parents names and address and telephone number).
- A girl is entitled to a priority appointment for the committee for termination of pregnancy as well as special assistance in cases of need.
- A girl who comes before the committee without medical documentation will be accepted by the committee and the information will be completed when she is in the hospital.
- A girl who arrives to the committee without the payment guarantee from her health insurance plan will be take without any demand for payment and the health plan must give a payment guarantee after the fact.
- A social worker will meet with the girl before the committee hearing and the committee's decision will be given to the girl right away.
- A girl is entitled to a priority appointment for a termination of pregnancy and she will be given the phone number of a social worker that will guide her through the termination process.
- The girl will be received for the termination of pregnancy even if all of the required test results have not been received and the missing tests can be done in the hospital during the process. The girl is entitled to have a nurse present during tests and treatments in order to ensure her privacy.
- The girl is entitled to go through the process (both the committee hearing and pregnancy termination) without parental consent and/or knowledge.
- For more information see the information packet for girls on unplanned pregnancy on the Ministry of Health website.
Situations in which termination of pregnancy is publicly funded
- Terminating a pregnancy through public funding in the framework of The Healthcare Basket is done in each of the following cases:
- A woman up until age 33.
- A pregnancy that is the result of illegal relations according to the criminal law (for example adultery or rape), regardless of the woman's age.
- The child may be born with a physical or cognitive defect, regardless of the woman's age.
- Continuing the pregnancy may pose a life-threatening risk to the woman or cause her physical and/or emotional damage; regardless of the woman's age.
- For medical reasons; regardless of the woman's age.
Additional cases of public funding for termination of pregnancy
- Terminations of pregnancy for minors in Israel lacking legal status are funded by the Ministry of Health. For more information, see the Ministry of Health Circular 14/2009 from 02.04.2009 - termination of pregnancy for minors in Israel lacking legal status.
- Termination of pregnancy for a solider who became pregnant during military service is funded by the army. More information regarding abortions for soldiers, including their rights, the relevant procedures, and funding may be found on the Women's Affairs Advisor to the Chief of Staff website.
Cost of Private Funding
- For those who are not eligible for public funding, opening a pregnancy termination file, an appointment with a pregnancy termination committee, and the performance of an abortion are all subject to financial costs according to the Health Ministry's Price List . Alternatively, one may present documentation of financial commitment from their Health Fund.
- The Ministry of Health price listings for termination of pregnancy as of 11.01.2018 are as follows (it is recommended to check them from time to time):
- Pregnancy termination committee fee: 424 NIS (with a referral from the health fund) or 433 NIS without a referral. You must save the receipt in order to receive reimbursement.
- Medical (medicinal) abortion: 2,141 NIS (with a referral from the health fund) or 2,188 NIS without a referral (including a surgical abortion afterwards, if required)
- Surgical abortion: 2,972 NIS (with a referral from the health fund) or 3037 NIS without a referral.
- After commission approval is received, one must obtain a payment voucher (Form 17) from their Health Plan. (Most hospitals have Health Fund branches in which one can obtain the form, submit the receipt to the committee, and receive a refund).
- All documentation and information related to a request to a pregnancy termination committee, its discussions and decisions are private and confidential.
- According to Ministry of Health instructions, hospitals are required to be responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of committee information, (including placing committee hearings and waiting areas in a separate area of the hospital not accessible to the general public).
- Minors under the age of 18 may submit a request to a pregnancy termination committee and have an abortion performed even without approval of a parent or guardian. For more information, see: Medical Care Minors May Receive without Parental Consent.
- Important: In some cases, the court may order the removal of confidentiality.
A woman appeals to the committee under the section of "pregnancy outside of marriage" and declared her will for abortion (as part of the "informed consent") during divorce proceedings, the spouse may request of the court to remove the confidentiality order with the intention of proving that his wife betrayed him. This is especially significant in the religious courts.
- Abortions are regulated in accordance with the Penal Law, according to which anyone who knowingly terminated a woman's pregnancy by medical or other means is liable to serve 5 years in prison or pay a fine.
- According to the law, a gynecologist will not be criminally responsible for performing an abortion if both of the following conditions are met:
- The abortion was performed in a recognized medical facility.
- There is approval from a pregnancy termination committee with the authority to provide such approval according to the law.
- A committee may only give approval to perform an abortion after informed consent of the mother has been obtained.
- Informed consent must be given in writing, after the physical and emotional risks inherent in abortions have been explained to the mother.
- As a condition for performance of an abortion, the woman will be asked to sign an informed consent form for the performance of an abortion, which includes confirmation that she received a clear and detailed explanation of the procedure before signing.
Late Termination of Pregnancy Committee
- Abortion requests to terminate a pregnancy past the 24th full week require approval from a special committee - committee to terminate a pregnancy at the stage of viability.
- A request to this committee may be submitted through the normal pregnancy termination committee, or through the attending gynecologist.
- Late termination of pregnancy committees are composed of 5 members.
- The committee will not refuse a request before allowing the applicant to appear before it in order to present her reasoning for the request.
- As with all pregnancy termination committees, the committee is subject to the provisions of the Penal Law, which establishes the permissible grounds for termination of pregnancy.
- The father of the fetus has no legal standing before the pregnancy termination committee and his consent to an abortion is not required. If the woman agrees, the father may be present at the committee hearing.
- After termination of a pregnancy, it is important to receive proper counseling and guidance regarding family planning, prevention of unwanted pregnancies, as well as genetic counseling (if necessary) before the next pregnancy.
- Committee composition:
- The termination of pregnancy committee is comprised of 3 members: a specialist in obstetrics and gynecology, an additional medical specialist, and a social worker.
- Among the committee members must be at least one woman.
- Parents who lost the pregnancy in an advanced stage or parents whose infant passed away before 30 days pass are entitled, according to their choice, to participate in a parting process in the hospital or in the funeral and burial. For more information see The Right for Parents to be Present at a Burial Ceremony after a Pregnancy Loss.
Employment and National Insurance Rights
- In the case of abortion the woman or teenager may be eligible to rights from her employer and/or the National Insurance Institute.
- For information on abortion/pregnancy termination that occurs after 22 weeks of pregnancy see Rights of a Woman (and her partner) who Suffered a Stillbirth.
- For information on an abortion/miscarriage that occurs before 22 weeks have passed, see Employment Rights for Women after a Miscarriage.
- Isha L'Isha - an abortion hot-line for women
- Open Door - Israeli Organization for Planned Parenthood
- Women and Their Bodies (Nashim LeGufan)
- The Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel
- Ladaat Livkhor Nakhon - Know to Choose Correctly (formerly SHILOH - Counseling Services for Pregnancy and Prevention)
Laws and Regulations
- The Penal Law
- Ministry of Health Circular No 2/14 from 12.01.2014 expanding the range of health services offered as of 2014.
- Ministry of Health Director Circular 23/07 from 19.12.2007 regarding late termination of pregnancy committees
- Information regarding pregnancy termination committees may be found on the Ministry of Health website
- Information leaflet for adolescents in an unplanned pregnancy on the Ministry of Health website
- The "Kol Habriut" website.