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Jerusalem - Israel Forces Birth Control On Ethiopian Jews

Published on: January 29, 2013 08:24 AM
By: Jerusalem Post
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File photo of Ethiopian Falashmura descendants of Jews arrive at Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv. Photo by Tsafrir Abayov/Flash90File photo of Ethiopian Falashmura descendants of Jews arrive at Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv. Photo by Tsafrir Abayov/Flash90

Jerusalem - The 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.

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

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 U.S. 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 Jewish state.

“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.”


Content is provided courtesy of the Jerusalem Post


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1

 Jan 29, 2013 at 12:38 PM Secular Says:

As someone who spent some time in the Israeli health care system I can say there is definetly a paternalistic approach in medical diagnosis, treatment, and overall practice. Reasons range from a european style and culture of medicine, an abundance of doctors from the former USSR, and not coincidentally a socialized system of healthcare. The needs of the individual are secondary to the (healthcare) needs of the STATE. Health care POLICY is not made as a result of doctor patient relationships, but as a medical (state) system vis-a-vis the populace. An elite(unelected, non-representative few make decisions for the many. All in an attempt to 'curb costs', and 'properly allocate resources'. But this is for another forum.

The above notwithstanding, The fact that new immigrants from Ethiopia were given Depo shots, does not necesarily reflect some devious intent by the Ministry of health or individual Doctors. It may in fact be that these women sought contraception that was easy, didn't require pills, compliance or repeated appointments. It may have also been done for cultural reasons (no barrier methods allowed (?). Not everything is a conspiracy.

2

 Jan 29, 2013 at 01:52 PM enlightened-yid Says:

Reply to #1  
Secular Says:

As someone who spent some time in the Israeli health care system I can say there is definetly a paternalistic approach in medical diagnosis, treatment, and overall practice. Reasons range from a european style and culture of medicine, an abundance of doctors from the former USSR, and not coincidentally a socialized system of healthcare. The needs of the individual are secondary to the (healthcare) needs of the STATE. Health care POLICY is not made as a result of doctor patient relationships, but as a medical (state) system vis-a-vis the populace. An elite(unelected, non-representative few make decisions for the many. All in an attempt to 'curb costs', and 'properly allocate resources'. But this is for another forum.

The above notwithstanding, The fact that new immigrants from Ethiopia were given Depo shots, does not necesarily reflect some devious intent by the Ministry of health or individual Doctors. It may in fact be that these women sought contraception that was easy, didn't require pills, compliance or repeated appointments. It may have also been done for cultural reasons (no barrier methods allowed (?). Not everything is a conspiracy.

What are you rambling about? Stop infusing Glenn Beck's theories on "socialized v. none socialized" healthcare system. This has nothing to do with that. American capitalist healthcare system has a history of forcing minorities to use birth-control or outright experimenting new drugs on minorities.

3

 Jan 29, 2013 at 02:00 PM Reb Yid Says:

I guess it's better than stealing their kids, like they did to the Yemenite immigrants.

4

 Jan 29, 2013 at 02:19 PM Shlomo44 Says:

I am sick of these so called "human rights" organizations in Israel. The acronym stands for Hamas Understands Media Attention News.

5

 Jan 29, 2013 at 03:42 PM Anonymous Says:

Typical zionist racism. This is why all of the gedolim opposed zionism. What a chillul Hashem, RL

6

 Jan 29, 2013 at 03:59 PM Secular Says:

Reply to #2  
enlightened-yid Says:

What are you rambling about? Stop infusing Glenn Beck's theories on "socialized v. none socialized" healthcare system. This has nothing to do with that. American capitalist healthcare system has a history of forcing minorities to use birth-control or outright experimenting new drugs on minorities.

Who is Glenn Beck? and why do you hate her so much?

... and by the way it's non-socialized not "none-socialized".

But to the point. I am not and was not accusing the Israeli health ministry of any wrongdoing. I was merely stating that in a paternalistic, socialized, non representative healthcare system, the environment is ripe for broad and sweeping policies.

It's true that in the past testing of various medications/vaccines was done on minorities and the mentally challenged. But a lot has changed. Medicine is now more patient centered and less doctor centered. Certainly, with the increased litigation and practice of defensive medicine. However, with new policies in place and more overreach by the government into the healthcare system, look out for mandatory vaccinations of employees. Discrimination against smokers etc.

Did you know that in England, none above 60 years of age is eligible for dialysis?
- cost containment

Think about that

7

 Jan 29, 2013 at 04:59 PM Anonymous Says:

I think they should force them literally to be on birth-control. Most of them are not even jewish and are wasting space in Israel.

8

 Jan 29, 2013 at 05:43 PM Anon Ibid Opcit Says:

Reply to #4  
Shlomo44 Says:

I am sick of these so called "human rights" organizations in Israel. The acronym stands for Hamas Understands Media Attention News.

If they spoke Yiddish, were White and came from Hungary you'd spit and rage and demand the doctors' heads on spikes for doing what the Nazis did. But if a Jewish woman is dark-skinned and from Africa then defending her rights is something only Hamas would do.

Your hypocrisy is disgusting, even more so because you should know better.

9

 Jan 29, 2013 at 06:14 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #6  
Secular Says:

Who is Glenn Beck? and why do you hate her so much?

... and by the way it's non-socialized not "none-socialized".

But to the point. I am not and was not accusing the Israeli health ministry of any wrongdoing. I was merely stating that in a paternalistic, socialized, non representative healthcare system, the environment is ripe for broad and sweeping policies.

It's true that in the past testing of various medications/vaccines was done on minorities and the mentally challenged. But a lot has changed. Medicine is now more patient centered and less doctor centered. Certainly, with the increased litigation and practice of defensive medicine. However, with new policies in place and more overreach by the government into the healthcare system, look out for mandatory vaccinations of employees. Discrimination against smokers etc.

Did you know that in England, none above 60 years of age is eligible for dialysis?
- cost containment

Think about that

"Did you know that in England, none above 60 years of age is eligible for dialysis?"

This is a myth. Totally the opposite. In the US if you don't have insurance you won't get life saving surgery . In the UK and other countries like Australia, the elderly get as good, if not better medical treatment.

A family friend of mine received a hip replacement at 83 in Australia on the Medicare system (public).

Most of the anti "socialist" medicine propaganda are plain out lies.

From someone who lives in Australia where we have both public and private medicine.

10

 Jan 29, 2013 at 07:43 PM newtransplant Says:

Reply to #9  
Anonymous Says:

"Did you know that in England, none above 60 years of age is eligible for dialysis?"

This is a myth. Totally the opposite. In the US if you don't have insurance you won't get life saving surgery . In the UK and other countries like Australia, the elderly get as good, if not better medical treatment.

A family friend of mine received a hip replacement at 83 in Australia on the Medicare system (public).

Most of the anti "socialist" medicine propaganda are plain out lies.

From someone who lives in Australia where we have both public and private medicine.

It is indeed a myth. While on dialysis myself I saw numerous people in their 80's and even one in her 90's coming in regularly for dialysis.

11

 Jan 29, 2013 at 10:35 PM Secular Says:

Reply to #9  
Anonymous Says:

"Did you know that in England, none above 60 years of age is eligible for dialysis?"

This is a myth. Totally the opposite. In the US if you don't have insurance you won't get life saving surgery . In the UK and other countries like Australia, the elderly get as good, if not better medical treatment.

A family friend of mine received a hip replacement at 83 in Australia on the Medicare system (public).

Most of the anti "socialist" medicine propaganda are plain out lies.

From someone who lives in Australia where we have both public and private medicine.

"Totally the opposite. In the US if you don't have insurance you won't get life saving surgery . " Are you kidding.!?!

Every hospital in the U.S. must and do accept anyone at the emergency room, regardless of their ability to pay. Any pregnant woman for example can have stabilizing "life saving" treatment (for her and the unborn child) whether or not she has insurance or whether she's a citizen or an illegal alien. Why do you think so many border town hospitals are broke? Why do you think inner city hospitals are broke?
The answer: 1) The requirement that every hospital must provide life saving/stabilizing treatment to anyone. 2) inner city populations who are poor who use the hospital as primary care. 3) illegal aliens who use the hospital as primary care, often with advanced disease.

I cannot speak of the health system in Australia, but suffice it to say their population makeup is different than that in the US.

But England, won't perform dialysis on patients above 60, or liver transplants above a certain age.

12

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