Requests for abortions in Israel have reached a record high in 2021, says a new Central Bureau of Statistics report published Tuesday.
According to the report, the Health Ministry's pregnancy termination committee had received 16,591 requests to terminate pregnancies, meaning 7.7 out of every 1,000 Israeli women between the ages 15-49 had sought an abortion throughout the year, same as in 2020.
Abortion requests in Israel have been on the rise since the late 1980s and jumped sharply in 2020, perhaps due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and consequent lockdowns.
The percentage of requests approved also increased from some 90% in the 1980s to more than 99% in recent years. In 2021, the approval rate stood at almost 99.5%. According to the Health Ministry, 95.4% of women whose applications were approved have gone through with the process.
Some 6.8% of the applications were made by females under the age of 19; 50.1% by married women; 39.6% by single women; 9.9% by divorced women and 0.3% by widows.
As in previous years, the vast majority (85.5%) of the requests were made in the first trimester of pregnancy (up to 12 weeks), 12.8% during the second trimester (weeks 13-23), and 1.7% in the last trimester (week 24 and onward). Thirty percent of all requests to terminate a pregnancy in 2021 were made by women who have previously had an abortion.
Among Jewish women, 8.1 in 1,000 women had sought to terminate a pregnancy compared to 6.0 per 1,000 among Arab women.
Abortions in Israel are approved in accordance with the following criteria: The woman is under the minimum marriage age (18) or is 40 or older; the pregnancy is the result of a relationship prohibited by law, incest or extramarital relations; the child may suffer from physical or mental disabilities; the pregnancy may endanger the life of the woman or cause physical or mental harm.