Chapter 11: Israel's abortion law and the paradox of a rightless access to pregnancy terminations
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This chapter analyzes the political process that enabled the enactment of Israel's abortion law in the 1970s. It explains how a conservative law, that denies women the right to make autonomous decisions whether to end a pregnancy or not, developed into a practice administered by Pregnancy Termination Committees, that make abortion widely accessible. However, since access to abortion in Israel is not based on a reasoning of rights and Israeli women depend on public committees to decide their reproductive fate, shame and humiliation are inseparable aspects of this process. In this respect the reality of abortion access in Israel provides an intriguing example of the implications of abortion legislation that is not based on a recognition of women's basic right to choose to end an unwanted pregnancy. It highlights how such legislation leaves structures of gender inequality intact. Indeed, individual women in Israel are granted access to abortion, but at the same time the legal process that forces women to beg for their bodies before a committee of three strangers and often lie about the true reasons for seeking an abortion, perpetuates their status as second-class citizens.

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