Ethiopian Women Pressured to Use Contraception as Condition of Immigration to Israel

Journalist Gal Gabbay last month published an expose claiming that Jewish Ethiopian women wishing to enter Israel from transit camps in Ethiopia were being manipulated into taking Depo-Provera, resulting in a declining birth rate for Ethiopians in Israel.

Depo-Provera, the brand name of a long-acting contraceptive injection, is a highly effective method of birth control but possible side effects include a decrease in bone density that puts women at increased risk for osteoporosis and fractures later on. That and other side effects are not immediately reversible, and returning to fertility can be a lengthy process. In addition, withdrawal symptoms can be acute.

Relatively few healthy women in Israel choose the injection without specific medical reasons.

One of the commenters on this Jezebel article shrewdly quoted the following text from the United Nations’ “Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide” (adopted on December 9, 1948):

In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

  • (a) Killing members of the group;

  • (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

  • (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

  • (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

  • (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Emphasis mine.