An illegal abortion clinic in south Tel Aviv that may have also trafficked newborn babies was raided Friday by Tel Aviv police and Border Police who were accompanied by officials from the Ministry of Health.
A Haaretz report about the clinic stated it was run by a Tel Aviv couple out of the back of food store at the Central Bus Station. An apartment on Levinsky Street was also raided.
The couple was questioned and the case was still under police investigation. One report suggested the couple was detained and then released due to insufficient evidence, but a conflicting account stated the couple was never detained.
According to Haaretz, the store was used for “performing abortions on foreign women with no legal standing in Israel,” meaning migrant women who weren’t granted legal asylum status by the state — and who likely feared being incarcerated or questioned if they went to state-run health clinics for care.
The report also said that, according to the allegations, the couple was “well known in the migrant community in southern Tel Aviv” and that they “gave abortion-inducing pills to women who approached them for help in ending their pregnancies.”
The apartment and store reportedly served as delivery rooms where women were brought near the end of their pregnancies. Over 3,000 pills that induced miscarriages were reportedly found at the clinic.
The couple was also suspected of trafficking newborn babies to other, childless migrant families in south Israel, and of extorting large fees from the adoptive parents.
Migrants without legal statuses in Israel are not eligible to enroll in the national health plans, although hospitals do provide essential, emergency care. Physicians for Human Rights, a Tel Aviv-based human rights group, works to get asylum-seekers medical attention, and a clinic at the Central Bus Station provides the community with free or low-cost care.