Ethiopian women were pressured into having contraceptive injections by Israeli officials and the Health Ministry has ordered immigration officials in Ethiopia and health workers in Israel to stop coercing women into accepting the injectable contraceptive Depo-Provera. Doctors were instructed “not to renew prescriptions of Depo-Provera to women of Ethiopian origin or any other women who, for whatever reason, may not understand the treatment’s implications.”
Under the Law of Return, Ethiopians who claim to be Jews are welcome to migrate to Israel. According to a report by the “Vacuum” investigative news program on Israeli Educational Television, births among Ethiopian women have dropped by 50% in the last decade. Ethiopian women told the journalists stories of coercion and misinformation. One woman said, “They said, ‘Come, there are vaccinations, gather everyone, ” and added, “We said we wouldn’t receive it. They said, ‘You won’t move to Israel.’”
Hedva Eyal, a feminist belonging to the group Isha L'Isha, wrote a report in 2008 claiming that the medical profession had failed Ethiopian migrant women. It said:
“The paternalistic attitude towards women of Ethiopian origin and the state’s concern over high rates of birth among poor and black populations drove Israeli official bodies, such as The Jewish Agency and the medical establishment, to act, allegedly for the benefit of women's health, but in fact according to the concepts and wishes of the establishment regarding the desirable way to conduct family life. As a result, and as this paper shows, women did not get crucial medical information and their right of choice regarding their bodies, families and lives was severely curtailed.”
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