Ethiopian women were given contraceptives, Israel admits
JERUSALEMWomen of Ethiopian origin were systematically injected with long-acting contraceptives, an Israeli government official has admitted for the first time.
The Health Ministry has instructed all gynecologists in Israel’s four health maintenance organizations not to inject women with long-acting contraceptive Depo-Provera if they do not understand ramifications of the treatment, according to Israeli daily Haaretz. The letter instructs all gynecologists “not to renew prescriptions for Depo-Provera for women of Ethiopian origin if for any reason there is concern that they might not understand the ramifications of the treatment.” He also instructed physicians to use translators if need be.
50 percent decline
The letter came in response to a letter from a civil society organization representing several women’s rights and Ethiopian immigrants’ groups. The letter demanded the injections cease immediately and that an investigation be launched into the practice. The case emerged after a journalist revealed recently the results of interviews with 35 Ethiopian immigrants. The women’s testimony explained the almost 50 percent decline over the past 10 years in the birth rate of Israel’s Ethiopian community. According to the program, while the women were still in camps in Ethiopia they were sometimes intimidated or threatened into taking the injection. “They told us they are inoculations,” said one of the women interviewed, according to the report.