Israel's Ethiopian Birth Control Story Reflects A Broader Problem
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Source: The Daily Beast
On Sunday it was reported that Israel has finally admitted to systematically depressing the fertility of the Ethiopian immigrant community (information first reported five years ago) by injecting Ethiopian-Israeli women with the long-acting birth control drug Depo-Provera without informed consent.
In some cases, women were first given the drug while still in transit camps; in other cases, it seems women were regularly injected after arriving in Israel. Some women apparently knew they were being given birth control but were told they wouldn’t be let into Israel if they didn’t agree; others report being told the shots were “inoculations.”
While this story is horrifying enough unto itself, it cannot be removed from a larger and equally disturbing picture.
Primarily, the Depo Provera story reflects the broader Ethiopian Jewish experience of coming home only to find themselves to still be strangers: Many Ethiopian Jews were made to undergo HIV testing before immigrating, and though no other group of Israelis has ever been so tested—meaning that health officials had no way of knowing how the Ethiopian findings compared to HIV rates among other groups—Ethiopian blood donations were routinely discarded from 1984 to 1996.
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