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Report: Coerced contraception behind 50 percent decline in Ethiopian-Israeli birth rate
December 11, 2012
NEW YORK (JTA) -- Israeli and Jewish aid officials are denying an Israeli TV report alleging that Ethiopian immigrant women have been coerced into taking contraceptive shots.
The report, which aired Saturday night on Israeli Educational Television, charged that coercive contraception is behind a 50 percent decline in the Ethiopian birth rate in Israel over the last decade.
Ethiopian women interviewed in the program, called "Vacuum" and hosted by Gal Gabbai, said they were coerced into receiving injections of Depo-Provera, a long-acting birth control drug, both at Jewish-run health clinics in Ethiopia and after their move to Israel.
Rachel Mangoli, executive director of the WIZO chapter in Katz Village, told the TV show that she realized something was amiss when during a full year in her Ethiopian program just one Ethiopian baby was born.
"I went to the health clinic and I was told that Ethiopian immigrants were given the contraception because they couldn't be relied upon to take the pills every day," Mangoli said.
In the report, a woman identified as S. said she was told at the Jewish aid compound in Gondar, Ethiopia, "If you don't get the shot, we won't give you a ticket."
She recalled, "I didn't want to take it. They wanted me to take it. But I didn't know it was a contraceptive," she said. "I thought it was an immunization."
Another Ethiopian interviewed for the program, Amawaish Alane, said, "We said we won't accept the shot. They told us, 'You won't immigrate to Israel. You also won't come into this clinic. You won't get help and medical treatment.' "
"We had no choice," Alane said. "That's why we took the shot. We could only get out with their permission."
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