Human Rights Organizations in Israel: Solidarity with Women in the United States

Several human rights organizations in Israel send a solidarity message with women in the United States after a leak published by Politico on an expected ruling by the US Supreme Court that will overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling. Among the organizations that endorsed the message: Physicians for Human Rights, Na’amat – Histadrut Women’s Movement, Women against Violence, Kayan – Arab Feminist Organization, Women Lawyers for Social Justice, Feminist Center of Haifa and ACRI – Association for Civil Rights in Israel.

According the message, “This would be a severe blow to women’s rights over their bodies. The fight for women’s reproductive rights is one of the longest and most important in the feminist movement’s history, and this new low point in the United States is inconceivable.”

Rally to defend Roe v. Wade, May 3, 2022, at Seattle, USA (Photo: KUOW)

Israeli law also prohibits pregnancy termination other than for several preset reasons listed by the legislator. A woman seeking to terminate a pregnancy must appear before a medical committee and ask it for permission to undergo the medical procedure. This practice, which has been in place for decades, defies the principle of the patient’s autonomy over her body and reflects a paternalistic approach that no longer has a place in medicine.

Though American and Israeli laws on the matter are similar, in the US, it is the woman terminating a pregnancy who would be criminally liable, while in Israel, it is the physicians performing the procedure who are the offenders. The fact that the government determines what constitutes proper medical practice through criminal enforcement violates both women’s rights to bodily autonomy and medical ethics and professionalism, forcing the health care system to participate in a violation of human rights.

Click here to read the full letter in English