Right-wingers in Congress mostly silent about Israel’s liberal new abortion law


It seems that certain politicians in Washington are facing a POLITICAL QUANDARY of sorts:

Israel adopted this week one of the most liberal abortion laws in the world, and will now provide government funding for non-medical abortions for Israeli women aged 20 to 33.

But Washington’s most anti-abortion lawmakers are largely silent on the new policy. These same members of Congress are also some of Israel’s loudest defenders, highlighting a peculiar aspect of the relationship between many of Israel’s ardent U.S. supporters and Israel’s domestic political landscape.

Last month, a health ministry panel in Israel recommended the state pay for the abortions of women aged 20 to 33, including non-medical abortions. The measure was adopted this week, and will cost the state annually about $4.6 million. Unlike in the United States, abortion is relatively non-controversial in the country.

“They are sovereign nation they can do as they wish,” Sen. Lindsey Graham said of the policy. “That won’t happen in America.”

Sens. Marco Rubio and Ron Johnson, among others, declined to weigh in on the law citing unfamiliarity, while Sen. Ted Cruz referred BuzzFeed to his press office. A Cruz spokeswoman did not return a request for comment.

“I don’t really feel qualified to talk about what Israel should be doing on abortion,” said Sen. John McCain.

The office of Majority Leader Eric Cantor did not respond to a request for comment. And Rep. Chris Smith, who heads up the congressional anti-abortion caucus and has called Israel America’s “closest ally,” did not respond to several requests for comment to his office.

Smith has weighed in on international abortion law before, primarily regarding a change to Kenya’s constitution allowing for abortion in cases in which the mother’s health is at risk. He charged in 2010 that the Obama administration had used taxpayer funds to lobby for the change. Smith has called abortion “a serious, lethal violation of fundamental human rights.”


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