The majority of the Israeli public is supportive of abortions, a poll conducted byYnet and the Gesher Institute revealed Tuesday. About 30% of those polled said that they would only undergo the procedure if the fetus was found to be carrying a grave illness.
The poll comes a week after Israel's Chief Rabbinate decided that it would establish a special committee that would work to reduce the amount of abortions carried out in Israel.
The survey, conducted by the Mutagim Institute, polled 512 individuals constituting a national sample representing the adult Hebrew-speaking Jewish population in Israel.
The participants were firstly asked what they consider abortion: Thirty-nine percent said they believed abortion was a legitimate medical procedure carried out when necessary; 31% said it was 'an especially painful last resort' and 30% said they believed abortion was the equivalent to murder.
Segmenting the responses by religious observance, the poll indicated that 88% of the seculars polled saw abortion as a legitimate medical procedure or a measure of last resort, while an overwhelming 91% of haredim and 62% of observant Jews answered that it was murder.
The survey also asked what the interviewees would consider a legitimate reason to choose an abortion: Fifty-five percent of them said that if a fetus was a carrier of a grave illness, aborting it would be justified; 21% said that an unplanned pregnancy was worthy of an abortion; 13% would abort a fetus due of financial difficulties and 5% believed that if the fetus was not of the sex desired by the parents it was justifiable to abort.
Thirty-two percent of the respondents said they would never under any condition willingly have an abortion.
It should be noted that poll participants were able to pick more than one condition under which an abortion would be justified.
"We essentially found that the majority of Israelis don't sanction abortions, unless the fetus suffers from serious deformities," Shoshi Becker, head of Gesher, told Ynet.
"According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, the number of abortions preformed in Israel over the past few years is declining – echoing the public's sentiments," she added.