A report released over the weekend reveals that Ethiopian women who migrated to Israel were given contraceptive injections without their consent.
Haaretz, a leading Israeli newspaper, reported that the director general of the Health Ministry of Israel has indirectly acknowledged that Ethiopian immigrants were given Depo-Provera, a contraceptive injection that lasts three months, while in transit camps. In a letter to Israel’s four health maintenance organizations, the director general instructed 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.” According to a 2010 report, Ethiopian women account for 57% of the country’s Depo-Provera users.
The memo comes a month after the controversy over forced temporary sterilization in Israel was sparked following the airing of a documentary show called “Vacuum.” One woman interviewed in “Vacuum” described her experience while immigrating, “We said we won’t have the shot…They told us, if you don’t you won’t go to Israel. And also you won’t be allowed into the Joint (American Joint Distribution Committee) office, you won’t get aid or medical care. We were afraid … We didn’t have a choice. Without them and their aid we couldn’t leave there. So we accepted the injection. It was only with their permission that we were allowed to leave.”