Were it an American philanthropy, Efrat would probably be labeled “pro-life,” and grouped alongside the “crisis pregnancy centers”—usually run by Christian groups—that have stoked the ire of left-wing activists. But the watchword of this Jerusalem-based organization is “choice.” Mary Margaret Olohan writes:
Efrat has saved the lives of 83,467 children since its founding, according to the cheery signs on the wall in the pregnancy center’s storage center, where [its] executive director Nir Salomon energetically explained the pregnancy center’s mission to our visiting group of American Catholics. . . . He emphasized that Efrat aims to empower women to make their own choices about their babies without pressure from husbands, boyfriends, parents, or other outside influences.
“When a woman comes to us, we tell her, ‘You have an option to abort. It is legal in Israel. But you also have the option to have a child,’” he said. “And that is the unique proposition of Efrat.”
Efrat was founded by the late Holocaust survivor Herschel Feigenbaum, who . . . wanted to create a non-profit encouraging childbirth to replace the many Jewish children slaughtered during the Holocaust. . . . Many Israeli women considering abortion already have children, Salomon said, noting that 56 percent of the women Efrat helps are married. Often, a woman’s husband has told her that they cannot afford another child. Efrat wants these families to know that they can, in fact, afford another baby—and Efrat will help make that baby’s entry into the world smoother.
A family’s fear may boil down to something as simple as a crib, Salomon said. The family cannot afford a crib and thus feels like it cannot afford a child. That simple act of providing Israeli families with that crib, or even with diapers or formula, is a major game changer. . . . Concerns do not end there, of course. Many families want to know how they will afford their baby after he or she is born. Here Efrat also has an answer—for the first two years after the baby’s birth, Efrat sends the families a box of baby products and food every month.