Abortion in Israel, Contraception in the U.S.

I must admit that when Ariella and I wrote this article, I don’t think I was fully aware of how bad the social discourse on women’s fertility had gotten in the United States. Focused as we were on trends in Israel (where we both live), we were looking at the way attitudes and cultures inform public policy here. Certainly a married, fertile woman who wants an abortion for a healthy fetus is discouraged and frowned upon in Israel; a woman we interviewed who was told– officially–by the doctor on the panel that she had psychological problems because she did not want to be a mother is a case in point. But in the end she was fine, obtained a legal abortion, nobody stopped her, and she has recovered. There is no sense of real “threat” in Israel. On the contrary, when all is said and done, very few people in Israel are really paying attention to this issue–for better and for worse. But in the States, the threats to women’s future are much more intense, and more tangible.

That religious leaders with such abhorrent views appear to have so much power to affect legislation about women speaks to very dark trends in America. That these forces enter what should be safe spaces for women – such as the board of Komen—Race for the Cure, an organization presumably dedicated to women’s health – indicates a virus that retrograde thinking about women’s bodies is spreading around America.

Need More Lilith?

Sign up now for a weekly batch of Jewish feminist essays, news, events--and incredible stories and poems from 40 years of Lilith.