AFRICANGLOBE – Israel’s State Comptroller Yosef Shapira announced yesterday that he will investigate allegations that HMOs and the state coerced and tricked Ethiopian Jewish women to take long-acting Depo-Provera birth control shots in order to reduce the Ethiopian population in Israel, the Jerusalem Post briefly reported.
Several Members of Knesset pushed Shapira to investigate after new data showed that after the state stopped HMOs from administering Depo-Provera to Ethiopian women early this year without first giving them other options for birth control and explaining Depo-Provera’s risks, the rate of Depo-Provera use among Ethiopian women dropped dramatically – seemingly confirming the allegations of state-sponsored trickery.
The state officially denies it had a policy to dramatically reduce the Ethiopian birthrate through coerced Depo-Provera use, although mounting evidence seems to contradict that claim.
The first report of coerced Depo-Provera use came several years ago in small women’s publication and was followed up late last year in a report on Israel’s educational TV channel that had Ethiopian women claiming they had been coerced to agree to Depo-Provera shots in transit camps in Ethiopia by Jewish Agency representatives and American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee medical personnel who told them they would not be able to immigrate to Israel unless they agreed.
The report also contained claims that the coercion was continued once in Israel by Jewish Agency representative in absorption centers and by HMOs.
The head of American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee medical services in Ethiopia, Rick Hodes, told reporters in December of last year that his personnel did not coerce the women.
“…If a woman prefers another method of contraception such as implantable or tubal ligation, we send them to facilities down the road in the city of Gondar for this.
“Women come to the program because they desire family planning. We present the various options to them and they choose. So women both choose to use contraception and choose their method. And choose when to discontinue contraception. It has always been that way in our program.…
“We do not inform the Israeli authorities who is on family planning, and I have no idea what happens once they arrive in Israel.…,” Hodes wrote.
By: Shmarya Rosenberg
Racism Report: Africans in Israel