Monday, 28 January 2013

Israel admits giving contraceptive injections to Ethiopian immigrant women

A disturbing story of official racism in Israel. Haaretz reports:
Israel admits Ethiopian women were given birth control shots
A government official has for the first time acknowledged the practice of injecting women of Ethiopian origin with the long-acting contraceptive Depo-Provera.
Health Ministry Director General Prof. Ron Gamzu has instructed the four health maintenance organizations to stop the practice as a matter of course.
The story broke on Israeli television in December, and the government denied it. From the JTA:
Israeli and Jewish aid officials are denying an Israeli TV report alleging that Ethiopian immigrant women have been coerced into taking contraceptive shots.
The report, which aired Saturday night on Israeli Educational Television, charged that coercive contraception is behind a 50 percent decline in the Ethiopian birth rate in Israel over the last decade.
At that time, a Haaretz columnist appropriately summarized: "An inconveivable crime: Israel's patronizing and inhumane treatment of Ethiopian women is nothing new."
Update. Tablet's Yair Rosenberg says the government hasn't admitted the coercive aspect; so I removed that word from my original headline. Today's Haaretz report summarizes the coercive aspect in the original television report:
According to the program, while the women were still in transit 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. “They told us people who frequently give birth suffer. We took it every three months. We said we didn’t want to.”

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