Israel eases regulations on abortion access as response to Roe v Wade

New changes include more access to abortion pills

AOC joins protests after Roe v Wade overturned

Israel has eased its regulations on abortion access in a move that is a direct response to the US Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v Wade, which it criticised as a decision designed for “oppressing women”.

“The rights to a woman’s body are those of the woman alone,” Israel’s health minister Nitzan Horowitz said in a statement on Monday, announcing the changes.

“The move by the US 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,” he added.

Abortion pills will now be available at local health clinics called health maintenance organisations (HMOs) instead of only hospitals, in one such major change, reported The Times of Israel.

Those seeking an abortion appointment will now have a shortened and simplified application process to go through as well.

Another significant change is the doing away of the requirement to physically face a review committee that approves abortions.

The process has been criticised by activists in the past for being humiliating and invasive for abortion seekers, despite abortion not being as controversial a subject as it is in the US.

There are only 38 such committees across the country and sometimes there is a longer wait for women seeking abortions to schedule appointments, said The Times of Israel report.

Women usually also face travel and time constraints in accessing the panels.

Experts, however, have pointed out that doing away with review committees altogether will require legislation that is unlikely to pass.

The new regulations will come into effect in three months.

Announcing the new moves, the health minister, who is from a left-leaning political party, said: “We are in a different place, and today we are taking big steps in the right direction.”

“The reform we approved today will create a simpler process, that is more respectful, advanced, and maintains a woman’s right to make decisions over her own body – a basic human right,” he added.

On Friday, the US Supreme Court overturned Roe, stripping away women’s constitutional protections for abortion. The ruling has triggered widespread anger and massive protests across several American states.

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