Israelis admit pushing long-term contraceptives on Ethiopian women
An Israeli official acknowledged the practice of injecting women of Ethiopian descent with long-acting contraceptive Depo-Provera, Haaretz reported Sunday.
The birth-rate of the Israeli Ethiopian community had declined by over 50 percent in the past 10 years.
Sharona Eliahu of the Israeli Association of Civil Rights in January wrote a letter saying an investigation into the practice should be launched and that the injections should cease.
In response, Health Ministry Director General Prof. Ron Gamzu asked translators to volunteer their time so that doctors might communicate with their patients.
He also told four health maintenance organizations to stop the injections if the women do not fully understand the consequences of the drug, according to the Israeli daily.
State agencies and ministries had previously denied knowing of the practice which had been reported for the first time five years ago.
Depo-Provera is administered every three months and clinical trials show a near-zero percent failure rate in preventing pregnancies.
Many of the women experienced abnormal uterine bleeding however, which interferes with sexual intimacy.
It has also been said to decrease women’s sex-drive.
Fifty percent of women on hormonal birth-control are said to stop having their period after a year. Even after discontinuing the medication, it can take a year for a woman’s period to regulate.
Beyond making the woman sterile for as long as they are on the drug, a common side-effect of the contraceptive is significantly decreased bone density.
Depo-Provera has also been used with male sex-offenders as a form of chemical castration, as it greatly reduces the male sex-drive.