Ethiopian Birth Rate Plunged Amid Israel’s Secret Contraception Program
A Knesset study prompted by news reports about the administration of contraceptive injections to Ethiopian immigrant women before and after their arrival in Israel shows that these women gave birth to significantly fewer children in Israel than their peers who came to Israel in the 1990’s, before the practice became widespread.
But the authors of the study, which was commissioned from the Knesset Research and Information Center by MK Orly Levi-Abekasis (Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu), said they could not substantiate a report by Gal Gabbai on Educational Television last year that claimed that women in immigrant transit camps in Ethiopia were given the contraceptive, Depo-Provera, against their will and were told that if they refused to receive the injections they would be denied the right to immigrate to Israel.
Depo-Provera provides effective contraceptive protection over a period of months to women who take the injection. It has the advantage that it does not require the women to take a daily pill and its effects are reversible.
It appears to have become the preferred means of birth control among Ethiopian immigrants to Israel − birth control pills are more widely used by women in Israel in general − but in addition it appears to have driven down the number of children born to immigrants from Ethiopia to levels below the average family size of the general population of Israeli-born mothers.
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