by Jay Hobbs, Communications Assistant
It would be difficult to imagine the two nations of Russia and Israel heading in opposite directions on abortion legislation, restrictions, and even state-sponsored funding. But, the news out of both countries in recent days has shown just that.
The 2013 calendar came to a close with Russian president Vladimir Putin approving new measures restricting advertisements for abortion, which continued a process that began in 2011 with the limiting of most abortions to no later than the 12th week, along with a 48-hour waiting period.
Meanwhile, Israel, “a nation with a forceful religious lobby and a conservative prime minister, is poised to offer its female citizens some of the most liberal abortion coverage in the world,” according to a Jan. 6 article in The Times of Israel.
Under Israel’s new “health care basket,” the article points out, abortion access will not only be expanded, but a total of $4.6 million (U.S. dollars) in public funds will be set aside for an estimated 6,000 state-funded abortions.
According to The Times, “No medical reason for the abortion is required.”
Consider the following statement from Dr. Yonatan Halevy, director general of Shaare Tzedek Medical Center in Jerusalem:
“We want large families in Israel. We definitely encourage birth,” he says. “But when pregnancy occurs and it is undesired or inadvertent, I think we should supply the means to end the pregnancy properly.”
This new development in Israel is certainly cause for concern and prayer for Christians all over the globe, particularly considering Israel’s unique role in salvation history, as well as its standing as the only democracy in the Middle East.
While Russia’s newest legislation is no doubt driven by an overarching concern for its dwindling population—the result of a staggering 1,022 abortions per 1,000 live births—rather than a conviction regarding the sanctity of life, this gradual shift is certainly reason for rejoicing, when each life (including mothers and unborn children) protected from the violence of abortion is taken into account.
In any case, both situations demand the prayer of Christians, starting with those involved in the local battle for life in every corner of the world.
Pass along information about the global reality of abortion to your church this Sanctity of Life season, as we pray together for a world where abortion is unwanted today and unthinkable for future generations.