Israeli Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz on Monday announced a series of reforms broadening access to abortion in the country. File Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI | License Photo
June 27 (UPI) -- Israel on Monday approved multiple reforms aiming to make access to abortion easier for women, days after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe vs. Wade decision.
The Knesset Labor Welfare and Health Committee announced the changes including allowing women to apply online to get an abortion and expanding access to drug-induced abortions, amending its decades-old abortion laws for the first time in the wake of the U.S. high court's decision.
"The rights to a woman's body are those of the woman alone," Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz said in a statement.
"The move by the U.S. Supreme Court to deny women control of their bodies is a backward move, oppressing women and setting back the leader of the free and liberal world by a hundred years," Horowitz added.
In order to get an abortion in Israel women must be unmarried, younger than 18, older than 40, or prove that the pregnancy was the result of illegal circumstances such as rape or incest, that the fetus has a birth defect or that the pregnancy poses a physical or mental health risk to the mother.
If a woman meets at least one of these criteria the request must then considered by a Pregnancy Termination Committee made up of three representatives from the hospital or clinic that would perform the abortion to have the procedure approved.
Under the new changes, the application will be digitized, allowing women to apply online.
The Knesset panel also moved to eliminate questions from the application form that were deemed "degrading" such as whether women or their partners used contraceptives. However, the form will still ask if women had previous abortions because it was deemed medically relevant.
The new rules will also allow women to seek drug-induced early-term abortions at HMO clinics rather than just at hospitals.
The amended regulations will take effect in three months.
"We are in a different place, and today we are taking big steps in the right direction," Horowitz said.