Wednesday, Aug. 05
Latest News
  1. Kerry in Qatar to assure Gulf allies over Iran deal
  2. Yemen rebel chief says ready for political settlement
  3. Turkey's Erdogan says Putin may 'give up' on Assad
  4. Israel president threatened over 'Jewish terrorism' comment
  5. Iraqi Kurdish leader vows to avenge Yazidis
  6. Turkey vows 'whatever necessary' in fight against militants
  7. 'Hundreds' of Gulf Arab troops enter Yemen's liberated Aden
  8. Kerry in Qatar to assure Gulf allies over Iran deal
  9. Teen stabbed at Gay Pride march dies as pressure mounts on Israel
  10. Kerry pledges support for Egypt in Cairo talks
  11. UAE to try 41 on charges of seeking 'caliphate'
  12. Two Turkish troops killed in 'PKK suicide attack'
  13. Iraqis protest over poor services, salty tap water
  14. Exiled Yemen PM makes symbolic Aden visit to lead restoration
  15. New Taliban leader calls for unity in ranks in first audio message
  16. Iraqi Kurdistan leadership says PKK should leave
  17. Kerry lands in Egypt on first leg of Mideast tour
  18. Iraqis protest over poor services, salty tap water
  19. Dozens dead as Syria army 'pushes back rebels near regime heartland'
  20. Yemen PM returns to Aden from Saudi exile

Israel reviews contraceptive use for Ethiopian immigrants

Jan. 28, 2013 7:10 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 29, 2013 7:24 P.M.)
By: Jeffrey Heller
JERUSALEM (Reuters) -- Israel's Health Ministry has ordered doctors to review how they prescribe a birth control drug, after accusations it was being used to control the population of Ethiopian immigrants.

Suspicions that Ethiopian women had been coerced into receiving Depo-Provera arose in Israeli media a few years ago and most recently in a TV documentary linking the community's falling birthrate to over-prescription of the injectable contraceptive.

After a civil rights group accused it of racism, the health ministry ordered doctors not to renew Depo-Provera prescriptions unless they were convinced patients understood the ramifications, according to a letter from the ministry posted on the group's website on Monday.

Ministry Director-General Roni Gamzu said the decision did not imply he accepted the allegations by the Association of Civil Rights in Israel.

In a letter to Gamzu two weeks ago, ACRI said "the sweeping use of Depo-Provera among Ethiopian women raises heavy suspicions that we are talking about a deliberate policy to control and monitor fertility among this community.

"The data ... point to a paternalistic, haughty and racist attitude that limits considerably the freedom of Ethiopian immigrants to choose the birth control that is medically suitable for them."

ACRI said statistics from a major Israeli health provider showed that it had administered Depo-Provera injections to 5,000 women in 2008, 57 percent of whom were Ethiopian.

Israel has denied any policy to curb the birthrate among the 100,000 Ethiopian Jews who have moved to Israel since chief rabbis determined in 1973 that the community had biblical roots.

Some Ethiopian Jews have made it into Israel's parliament and officer ranks in the military, but complaints of discrimination in schooling and housing are common.

According to the US Food and Drug Administration, which approved Depo-Provera in 1992, its prolonged use may reduce bone density and that it should only be used for longer than two years if other birth control methods prove inadequate.

The documentary, broadcast on Israeli Educational Television, shows a nurse saying on a hidden camera that Ethiopian women were given Depo-Provera because they "don't understand anything" and would forget to take birth control pills.

Rick Hodes, medical director in Ethiopia for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, a non-governmental organization that helps to facilitate immigration to Israel, denied the accusation that women are coerced into receiving the injections before leaving for the country.

"Injectable drugs have always been the most popular form of birth control in Ethiopia, as well as among women in our program," Hodes wrote on Twitter.

"Our family program is, and always (has) been, purely voluntary."
Powered By: HTD Technologies
Ma'an News Agency
All rights reserved © 2005-2015