Comptroller to investigate claims of ‘forced contraception implants’ given to Ethiopian immigrants

Women reportedly told birth control shot was "vaccination," MK Orly Levy-Abecassis calls the reports "worrisome and shocking."

Ethiopian Jews 370 (photo credit: Moshe Shai)
Ethiopian Jews 370
(photo credit: Moshe Shai)
State Comptroller Joseph Shapira will investigate claims that Ethiopian women were given birth control implants while waiting approval for aliya in their native country, and continued to get the implant “against their will” once in Israel “to reduce their birthrate,” he told MK Orly Levy-Abecassis on Sunday.
In a public letter, Shapira said that “it appears that some of the people did not remotely understand what was happening at the time” when they were being given birth control.
Shapira also told Army Radio that, “the issue is important to me, both in its substance and in light of the fact that we are talking about the Ethiopian community.”
The Comptroller has been a stalwart supporter of the Ethiopian community, both ensuring diversity in his office and investing significant resources in his reports on issues impacting the community.
Several ministries and the Jewish Agency have reportedly denied knowledge of the issue.
The Yisrael Beytenu MK said that the findings of a recent report by the Knesset research department that dealt with the matter were “worrisome and shocking.” Their report maintained that the women were told they needed the implant under the of the upper arm because it was a “vaccination.”
The report did not explain why the state brought in tens of thousands of immigrants to Israel when, at the same time, the authorities allegedly gave them birth control implants so they would not get pregnant.
The claims have been denied by Clalit Health Services, which insures most immigrants from Ethiopia.
Experts said it is possible that Ethiopian women were given implants to prevent conception, so as not to complicate their immigration, as many had to wait years in transit camps until the Falash Mura gradually received permission to leave for Israel.
The MK said she wanted to know if there had been an “institutional decision” to prevent Ethiopian women from getting pregnant after their aliya.
After the claims became public, Health Ministry director-general Prof. Ronni Gamzu said he would look into it, but no results have been announced.
Levy-Abecassis said she congratulated the state comptroller for his decision and asked for “a serious and in-depth investigation” by his office.