Any hostage who became pregnant after being raped by Hamas terrorists in Gaza will need to decide whether to proceed with the pregnancy or opt for termination upon their release, according to a new report. Hamas Terrorists reportedly raped hundreds of Israeli hostages and impregnated them.
According to reports from the local news outlet Walla!, officials from Israel's Ministries of Welfare and Health are in the process of formulating comprehensive plans to deal with the possibility of unwanted pregnancies among women who were abducted by terrorists following the lethal attacks on October 7. In Israel, the standard procedure involves a pregnancy termination committee making decisions on abortion requests by women.
Strange Situation, Difficult Decision
However, officials are contemplating bypassing this step to streamline the process and reduce bureaucratic hurdles in cases involving pregnant former captives.
Over 130 Israelis, including young women and teenage girls, remain in Hamas captivity nearly four months later. Disturbingly, preliminary information indicates that some of these people have experienced sexual abuse, both during the initial attacks, as depicted in graphic online videos, and while being held captive.
Civilian authorities, in collaboration with the Israel Defense Forces, are launching a program to centralize all resources for the treatment of sexually abused hostages. This initiative will extend support to women, including those at various stages of pregnancy, who will be provided with both medical and psychological help.
The Wolfson Hospital in Holon has already prepared infrastructure and protocols to receive liberated captives.
In the initial phase, medical professionals will examine each patient for injuries and, in the case of pregnancy, assess the development of the fetus.
Subsequently, former Hamas hostages will be offered support in processing their trauma during the second stage.
Following the assessments and trauma processing, the former hostages will have to decide whether to terminate their pregnancy, if it remains a safe option for the mother, or proceed with bringing it to term.
Those choosing to keep their babies will receive comprehensive support from the government, encompassing financial, legal, and mental health help, as reported by the outlet.
Have to Take Bold Decision
In a Tuesday discussion in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, Chen Almog-Goldstein, 49, who was released after over 50 days in Gaza captivity, said that some of the younger female hostages have stopped menstruating.
"There are girls who have not gotten their period in a long time. Perhaps we all have to pray that their bodies protect them and they won't get pregnant from rape," she said.
Relatives of female hostages, while urging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and foreign leaders to take prompt action for the release of the remaining hostages, stressed that the longer their loved ones stay in captivity, the greater the risk of unwanted pregnancies.
The primary concern is that if the women are not released for several more months, it may become logistically difficult or too late for them to terminate their pregnancies.
"I am uncertain how they will cope, but we must prepare now for this terrible theoretical possibility of a woman conceiving or raising such a child. Thus, we must stop this atrocity, not allow the captives to perish there, bring them back, and provide them with care," Professor Tal Biron-Shental, chair of obstetrics and gynecology at Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba, recently told the Israel publication Maariv.
Disturbing testimonies from former hostages are heightening concerns about the prevalence of sexual violence in the Gaza tunnels where the Israelis are presumed to be held.
Aviva Siegel, a former captive, told Israeli lawmakers that she saw members of the terror group providing female captives with "inappropriate clothing, dolls clothes."
Siegel said that the female hostages have been transformed into "puppets with whom they could do what they wanted, when they wanted," and she finds it inconceivable that they are still in captivity.
Eli Albag, the father of Liri Albag, who was abducted by Hamas attackers, shared that when he inquired about potential sexual violence, a released captive avoided eye contact, raising concerns about the well-being of the women.
"She was silent but she moved her face so I understood that something happened there," he recalled. "The hostage saw something, but she didn't want to tell us."
"We know that some of the girls — it's very difficult to say this — [the terrorists] attacked them, sexually, and we are worried," the heartbroken dad added.