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Israel's rabbis urge anti-abortion drive

03 January 2013, 17:17

Jerusalem - Israel's two chief rabbis have urged the country's religious establishment to back an organisation campaigning against abortion, Israeli media said on Thursday.

"We must support organisations that give financial assistance to women who do not wish to have abortions, because it is murder that deserves no pity," Yonah Metzger, the chief Ashkenazi rabbi, told Israeli military radio.

In a joint open letter, Metzger and Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar said that the work of the Efrat organisation could "save 4 000 human lives in a year”.

The Haaretz daily said rabbinical support for the work of anti-abortion campaigners was nothing new, but that the language employed in the letter was unusually harsh.

"This year we hope to raise awareness among a larger part of the public about the extremely grave nature of the decision to kill a foetus," the rabbis wrote.

Abortion is legal in Israel for girls who become pregnant under the age of 17, for women over 40 and for any women who has been raped or is the victim of an incestuous relationship.

It may also be authorised by a medical committee in cases where the pregnancy endangers the woman's life or the foetus is malformed.



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