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Study: Ethiopian women in Israel have fewer children

JTA

July 2, 2013 | 2:08 pm

A Knesset study commissioned after accusations that Ethiopian women waiting to come to Israel were given contraceptive injections against their will shows they had far fewer children than the country’s average.

The study conducted by the Knesset Research and Information Center could not, however, confirm that the women were given the contraceptive shot Depo-Provera without their consent, according to Haaretz, as an Israeli television report alleged.

In the past decade, births among Ethiopian women in Israel have fallen by nearly 50 percent, according to the report.

The study reported that the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee provided family planning courses to the women in transit camps prior to their immigration to Israel. The courses were not supervised by the Israeli government, according to the study.

A Dec. 8 report broadcast on the “Vacuum” investigative news program on Israeli Educational Television alleged that Ethiopian immigrants were coerced or coaxed into receiving Depo-Provera, a long-term contraceptive that lasts three months, by Jewish aid officials in transit camps in Gondar before their immigration to Israel and health workers in Israel.

In mid-January, the Health Ministry instructed doctors to stop administering the shots unless women ask for them and understand their ramifications.

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