Monday, January 28, 2013
Israel admits: Ethiopian women were given birth control without their knowledge or consent
Ethiopian Jews celebrate Sigd, a holiday during which they declare thjemsleves faithful to the Thora (Photo Jewish Forward)
Israel has admitted for the first time that it has been giving Ethiopian Jewish immigrants birth-control injections without their knowledge or consent.
The government had previously denied the practice but the Israeli Health Ministry’s director-general has now ordered gynaecologists to stop administering the drugs. According to a report in Haaretz, suspicions were first raised by an investigative journalist, Gal Gabbay, who interviewed more than 30 women from Ethiopia in an attempt to discover why birth rates in the community had fallen dramatically.
The director general's letter, which amounts to an indirect admission of the practice, came in response to a letter from Sharona Eliahu-Chai of the Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), 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.