The abortion mill that conservatives just love. They can’t get enough of funding THIS abortion mill!

Now, after a few days, here’s my contribution to the ongoing Komen-foundation-shooting-themselves-in-both-feet-after-putting-both-feet-in-their-mouths-gate.

I’d like to take a moment to discuss the abortion mill that conservatives love with all their heart.  That organization that they want to force every American to support that kills tens of thousands of the pre-born every year.  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…the state of Israel.

The US government gives approximately $3 billion a year to the state of Israel in military aid.  Money, being a fungible thing (H/T to McSuderman) that means that the $3 billion they get from us is 3 billion of their own money that they aren’t spending on military hardware.  Some of that 3 billion dollars allows the Israelis to build, support, and protect illegal settlements in the West Bank.  Some of it goes to support other Israeli activities that are diametrically opposed to American national security goals in the region and the world.  Some of that money makes room in the Israeli economy for spending on Israel’s socialized medical system.  Conservatives just loves them some socialized medicine in other countries, don’t you know.

But the big issue here is the fact that in Israel, abortions are legal, and paid for under that same socialized medical system.  Conservatives just love aborting Jew babies, it seems.  That has to be it, because they claim to hate abortions and to hate socialized medicine, but they love giving American taxpayers’ money to Israel to free up Israeli money to abort Israeli Jews.  In 2003, the latest year for which Wikipedia has Israeli abortion statistics:

Clauses 312-321 of the 1977 penal code limit the circumstances when an abortion is legal in Israel. Abortions can only be performed in Israel by licensed gynecologists in recognized medical facilities that are specifically and publicly recognized as a provider of abortions.  Abortions must be approved by the termination committee.

In practice, most requests for abortion are granted, and leniency is shown especially under the clause for emotional or psychological damage to the pregnant woman. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics report from 2004, 19,500 legal abortions were performed in Israel in 2003, while 200 requests for abortion were denied. Most abortions were authorized because the woman was unmarried (42%), because of illegal circumstances, such as rape, incest, etc.  (11%), health risks to the woman (about 20%), age of the woman (11%) and fetal birth defects (about 17%).

Also, too, consider this an open thread.


EDIT–Clarification–Abortion is not strictly legal, but is subject to approval by a 3 person committee.  It is not correct to say that “abortion is legal in Isreael”, per se.  That committee however, approves almost all of the abortions that are requested, which are then paid for by the healthcare system.  There is a proposed law in the Knesset right now that would make abortion completely legal in Israel because women who can afford to go to private clinics do so and avoid the committee altogether, according to the same Wiki article.  The intent of the proposed law is to make abortion rights functionally equal for all Israeli women.

57 replies
  1. 1
    dollared says:

    Wow. Just wow. Perfect application of wingnut logic to the perfect subject matter. Makes a fella want to convert and claim right of return.

  2. 2
    duck-billed placelot says:

    Wait, why were 200 abortions denied? I mean, if abortion is legal…or did the system just decline to pay for 200 abortions? Wait, that’s still ridiculous. Isreal, your socialist abortions are coming up short, I’m very disappointed in you.

  3. 3
    Redshift says:

    Maybe it’s okay because they’re all going to be wiped out in the End Times anyway.

    No, wait, if that “logic” worked, it would let all of us off the hook, too…

  4. 4
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    “But.. but.. ummm… oh hells bells… they can do whatever the fuck they want because they are heathens anyway and we only support them because they are rolling out the red carpet for Jesus to come and save us from heathens like them.
    Jeez, isn’t it obvious?!”

    Yeah, that.

  5. 5
  6. 6
    geg6 says:


    We’ve had our differences but I will love you forever for this post. Seriously.

  7. 7
    Cowbelle says:

    Next you’re gonna tell us that right-wingers support a country that allows gays to serve openly in their military.

    Like, um, Israel.

  8. 8
    Brian R. says:

    I believe you just nuked their argument from orbit.

  9. 9
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Expecting any consistent logic of any kind from wingtards is pretty much like expecting Scarlett Johansson or Keira Knightley to show up at your doorstep in about 15 minutes and beg you to take her, right there, right now. With a clear sky, temperatures approaching freezing, and a waxing close to full moon shining on you.

    OK, I need to take a shower. Back in a bit.

  10. 10
    Soonergrunt says:

    @duck-billed placelot: Story updated.

    @geg6: I’m here to serve, Ma’am.

    @Cowbelle: Oh, yeah. THAT issue…

    @Villago Delenda Est: LOL

  11. 11
    Violet says:

    Wingnut logic goodness. Delicious.

  12. 12
    Soonergrunt says:

    @efgoldman: I was thinking that, myself, but I couldn’t find chapter and verse on it, so I decided not to go there.

  13. 13
    Mike G says:

    There are lots of “except Israel” rules in US foreign policy.

    How many other countries that refuse to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty get the royal treatment in DC? Ask a usgov official about Israel’s hundreds of nuclear weapons and you’ll get every denial and obfuscation under the sun — the biggest elephant in the room in the Middle East.

  14. 14
    jeff says:

    Maybe Israel, maybe America, maybe both would be better off if we do let a little light shine between our policies. Or maybe a lot.

  15. 15
    Shadow's Mom says:

    Well, well, well. Thank you for this illuminating post; I had no idea. I suspect that most of the right-wing anti-choice crowd has no idea that in supporting funds for Israel, they are supporting state-sanctioned and funded abortion. Time to share this far and wide.

  16. 16
    duck-billed placelot says:

    @Soonergrunt: Yeah, thanks for the update; it seems like their abortion policy is basically the same paternalistic crap as right-wingers here, except less punish-y. ‘Illegitimate’ babies: suck ’em right out! However, if a lady is properly owned by a man and in good health, no, no, don’t be silly. Must have baby. (Obviously, I would happily trade up for this system, on the grounds of more abortions/less terrorism, yay. But it’s still all about how women can’t make their own choices.)

  17. 17
    Bruce S says:

    Death Panels in Israel? Who knew?

    Frankly, when I read that deep-thinker “money is fungible” thing from the Atlantic’s worst-columnist/editor ever, I seriously considered cancelling my subscription, despite my considering TNC and Fallows essential. I’m paying for her goddam uber-yuppy kitchen appliances – then it’s assumed I want to read all about it. Ugh!

  18. 18
    poco says:

    Anybody following the Penn BDS conference? I am totally bummed I couldn’t attend–it sounds like an amazing group of people got together there.

  19. 19
    Mark S. says:

    @duck-billed placelot:

    it seems like their abortion policy is basically the same paternalistic crap as right-wingers here

    They approve 99% of the requests. And our right-wingers aren’t paternalistic, unless slut-shaming is considered paternalistic (well, maybe it’s patriarchal).

  20. 20
    WyldPirate says:


    here you go, soonergrunt:
    Obama Reverses Rules on U.S. Abortion Aid

    Google “abortion us foreign aid” and you can find plenty more.

    BTW, nice take down of illogical wingnut BS.

  21. 21
    Bruce S says:

    Honestly, I think that people who actually believe abortion is murder should call for murder-equivalent prison sentences – or the death penalty, if that’s their thing – for anyone who is implicated in such. Also, the notion – assuming one actually believes abortion is killing babies – that there should be exclusions for rape or incest doesn’t fly. Rape and incest are terrible crimes, but they don’t justify killing a baby, if that’s one’s perspective on abortion. The only intellectually or morally consistent rationale for abortion I can comprehend under this asserted set of values is the life of the mother, and that would imply certain death without an abortion. Anyone who argues that abortion is “baby-killing” or “genocide” who cuts those particular corners is full of it. The up side of this is that the majority of Americans recoil at such savage notions. But if I actually believed this crap, I would like to think that I would…uh…you know…actually believe it. And stick to my guns. Thankfully, I’m not a total nutcase…but I respect total nutcases over the GOP’s cynics (Willard? Willard?) who use these issues to give cover to a pro-corporate agenda and need to drum up bogus reactionary religiosity to get the necessary votes.

  22. 22
    Amy C says:

    This is kind of weak sauce. The argument only holds if Israel would suspend or defund abortion services without that military aid money from the U.S., and we don’t know that.

    I mean, yes, the right wing supports a state that offers abortions via socialized medicine, and that irony is worth pointing out a thousand times over. Hell, that they support a state that has socialized medicine at all is biting and hilarious. Ask them about Canada’s system in the same breath and see how the reactions change.

    That said, the Israeli abortion system still requires a woman to beg for permission. The Israelis hardly have a ruthless baby-killing mill here – in fact it sounds just like the kind of demeaning process that wingers love to bestow upon “naughty” women and poor people. And according to the wiki you cited, that bill to eliminate the begging-for-my-abortion process has been languishing in the Knesset since 2007, after having been easily defeated the year before. You make it sound like legislative change is imminent because it supports your point, but that is a stretch.

    I’m just saying, you have a good thing going there with wingers supporting Israel, which is pretty darn socialist in some important ways, and nobody ever really talks about that incongruity. No need to contortion your argument to make it about abortion.

  23. 23
    Bruce S says:

    ••• Your comment is awaiting moderation •••

    Hey – wha-did-I-do? Moderation in pursuit of justice is no virtue.

  24. 24
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Bruce S:

    That’s because the entire argument against abortion isn’t really about abortion, in that the people screaming about abortion also oppose any form of contraception. If they wanted to prevent abortions, they’d support free rubbers, IUDs, and pill prescriptions for everyone.

    It’s actually about sex, and denying agency to women.

  25. 25
    fasteddie9318 says:


  26. 26

    Damn, SG, you nailed it. With a rail gun. From space.

  27. 27
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Bruce S:

    However, moderation in the pursuit of no brand names for boner pills or gambling joints is, I guess.

  28. 28
    duck-billed placelot says:

    @Mark S.: A lot of anti-abortion crap involves wanting to save women from regretting their (implied poor) choices. Which is pretty paternalistic. Not to say that it’s not patriarchal. Of course it is. Also, if a 3-person panel will automatically approve an abortion for an unmarried lady, but a married women has to have a medical reason… And as I pointed out, I’d still take their system. But women literally have to seek permission, so that’s pretty gross.

  29. 29
    Chris says:

    @Amy C:

    you have a good thing going there with wingers supporting Israel, which is pretty darn socialist in some important ways, and nobody ever really talks about that incongruity.

    Ayn Rand talked about it back in the day. Israel disgusted her doubly, being a soshulist nation and a religious nation, but, she explained, it was still important to support them against the Arabs, because they were a civilized people fighting savages.

    In other words, they’re white. And the native hordes are, well, native hordes, not even on the same plane.

  30. 30
    Cassidy says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Take two. One for each of them.

  31. 31
    Bruce S says:

    Villago – I think that’s a valid argument and a very real part of the cultural terrain around the abortion “debate”, but I honestly believe the issue has it’s level of currency in purely partisan terms because it’s a horse that the GOP can opportunistically ride to stir up resentment – expressed largely in variants on white populism – and their cynicism trumps all else. Which is why they keep the issue burning, but don’t really give a shit about the moral implications of their alleged position. Without inflaming the resentments and culture wars, they’d have to become a moderate party whose mission was to put some brakes on wha they saw as liberal or social-contract “over-reach”, sort of like the Eisenhower or Romney V1.0 Republicans who weren’t a danger to the Republic and actually performed a useful counterpoint in political discourse.

  32. 32
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Amy C: Why don’t you go back in time the last few days–hell, just read the majority of the front page posts on this blog, and see the rather glaring link that you seem to have missed.
    Hint–Susan G. Komen foundation and Planned Parenthood

  33. 33
    suzanne says:

    @Mark S.:

    And our right-wingers aren’t paternalistic, unless slut-shaming is considered paternalistic (well, maybe it’s patriarchal).

    Please tell me you’re being funny and are not stupid.

    Perhaps my sarcasm detector is broken?

  34. 34
    Yutsano says:

    @suzanne: I interpreted this as snark. But I may just be in a generous mood tonight.

  35. 35
    Mark S. says:


    When I say our wingnuts aren’t paternalistic, I was kind of thinking along the lines of this definition:

    A policy or practice of treating or governing people in a fatherly manner, especially by providing for their needs without giving them rights or responsibilities.

    Our wingers certainly don’t believe in the part about providing for peoples’ needs. They don’t believe in proving government assistance to women who have abortions because they lack the material means to care for a child. They don’t give a shit about the child once it’s born. They just believe in punishing sluts. Shit, I get the impression reading guys like Douthat that the only thing they care about is that people need to suffer the consequences of pre-marital sex.

    That’s all I meant by saying they are not paternalistic, because that word to me at least a little benevolence, even if it’s mostly stifling. But I have a cold and am not really sharp today.

  36. 36
    suzanne says:

    @Yutsano: I can’t remember the name of the commenter who was such a virulent anti-feminist asshole that he said that being accused of rape is just as bad as being raped. And that we should never believe a woman who said she was raped until the rapist has been convicted. And Duke lacrosse, dontcha know.

    Did you know that Nicole Brown Simpson is still alive? I mean, since she wasn’t murdered, because OJ got off…

    Stupid, it is everywhere.

  37. 37
    elhrac says:

    Have you calculated how many cliterectomies the US has indirectly paid for with the billions of dollars we give to Egypt?

  38. 38
    elhrac says:

    If you are opposed to abortions in Israel, please consider donating to this charity, which encourages women in Israel not to abort Jewish babies.

  39. 39
    Schlemizel says:

    holy crap! IIRC Israel is only about 8 million people, assume half are men & half of the women are outside child birthing years so as a round number say 2 million & those 2 million had 20,000 abortions! In a year!? Its almost an abortionists heaven over there! Seriously, am I getting the wrong numbers or should the wingnuts really be frothing at the mouth over this?

  40. 40
    FridayNext says:

    @Amy C:

    You are right of course. But there are certain Right Wingers and hackish pundits who use “Money is Fungible!” as a daily battle cry for defunding anyone who even thinks about abortions. I don’t think it is too much to ask them to be consistent. Especially those who speak in such absolutes i.e. all abortions are evil even those to save a mother or in cases of rape and incest.

  41. 41
    OzoneR says:

    meh, if a committee like that was proposed here, the left would go nuts.

  42. 42
    Lee says:

    @Schlemizel: I was thinking the same thing. That number of abortions seems astronomically high for the population.

  43. 43
    4tehlulz says:

    @Lee: Jews love to kill the babies for matzoh.

  44. 44
    Mr. Furious says:

    Even better / more ironic: they scream about imaginary death pa els here, yet support (or turn a blind eye to) subjecting the Israeli unborn to death panels.

  45. 45
    batgirl says:


    meh, if a committee like that was proposed here, the left would go nuts.

    As they rightly should.

    That said, I know someone who went through the process in Israel. At least in her case, it was pretty pro forma. And as Soonergrunt pointed out, if you have money and go outside the social*st health system, you can avoid the committee all together.

  46. 46
    OzoneR says:

    @batgirl: The thing is, and I’ve always said this, if and when we do finally achieve single payer healthcare, abortion is going to be a sticking point. I wouldn’t be surprised if the best we get out of the system is a situation where the states can decide if its a covered procedure with a court ruling confirming it or overturning it.

  47. 47
    RedKitten says:

    And yet in 2003, Bush attached a bunch of strings to African foreign aid, saying that they had to emphasize abstinence over condom use.

    And right-wingers cheered.

    But Israel has tacitly legalized abortion, and the right-wingers continue to plant their lips firmly on Israel’s backside.

  48. 48
    Steve says:

    @Schlemizel: It’s roughly the same ratio as the US.

  49. 49
    Lee says:

    @Steve: Just did some quick research and it seems Israel’s abortion rate is actually half of the US (11 versus 22).

    I think I just found something to spend my morning on :)

  50. 50
    jonas says:

    This isn’t surprising. Rabbinical law actually prescribes that a pregnancy that is endangering the life of the mother be terminated. That could be interpreted strictly — posing a serious and immediate threat to the life of the mother — or, more leniently, as threatening her future fertility, mental well-being, or family situation.

  51. 51
    jonas says:

    As long as the current Israeli government is packed with right-wingers who hate Palestinians, this little abortion issue isn’t going to raise hackles among the Christian Zionists in the US. Kind of like how serial adultery can be conveniently overlooked in a presidential candidate if he hates hippies enough. It’s the international relations version of IOKIYAR.

  52. 52
    artem1s says:

    Santorum doubles down on Komen stoopid by claiming abortions CAUSE breast cancer…

  53. 53
    Soonergrunt says:

    @RedKitten: The point. You get it. Unlike several commenters here. If I could give you a gold star I would.

  54. 54
    Soonergrunt says:

    @artem1s: I noticed that. What a dumbass.

  55. 55
    John M. Burt says:

    The standard “three exceptions” in an illegal-abortion regime are 1) rape, 2) incest and 3) mine.

    Israel, you see, is “mine” . . . .

  56. 56
    FastEddie says:

    I thought this would mean it breaks the “hyde amendment” but I guess not…

    In U.S. politics, the Hyde Amendment is a legislative provision barring the use of certain federal funds to pay for abortions.[1] It is not a permanent law, rather it is a “rider” that, in various forms, has been routinely attached to annual appropriations bills since 1976. The Hyde Amendment applies only to funds allocated by the annual appropriations bill for the Department of Health and Human Services. It primarily affects Medicaid.

  57. 57
    Wills says:

    Clarification—Abortion is not strictly legal, but is subject to approval by a 3 person committee. It is not correct to say that “abortion is legal in Israel”, per se.

    I think it is totally correct to say “abortion is legal in Israel.” Since when does committee approval have anything to do with legality? To donate a kidney for transplant in the US I need the approval of a donor committee. Does that mean that kidney transplants are not legal in the US (without committee approval)?

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