State Comptroller to probe Ethiopian 'birth control shots'

Decision to investigate comes after several MKs lobbied Shapira.

July 14, 2013 15:56
Ethiopian Jews arrive in Israel

Ethiopian Jews 370. (photo credit: Moshe Shai)

State Comptroller Yosef Shapira on Sunday announced he will probe allegations that the state persuaded Ethiopian immigrant women to take birth control shots (Depo-Provera) without proper explanation of their function or side effects.

The probe comes after several MKs lobbied Shapira to look into the matter.

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 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 in January.

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.

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