The Israeli government has tacitly acknowledged injecting Ethiopian women immigrating to Israel with a long-acting contraceptive without their knowledge, telling them they couldn't come into the country if they didn't take the shot, which the women thought was a vaccination.
Many have called the practice appallingly racist.
The shots are being blamed for a 50 percent drop in the birth rate in Israel's Ethiopian community over the past decade.
There are about 120,000 Jews of Ethiopian origin living in Israel, about a third of them born in Israel. There have long been conspiracy theories circulating about forced sterilization. But after a documentary aired last month on Israel's Educational Network, Health Ministry Director General Ron Gamzu has banned Israel's health maintenance organizations from injecting Ethiopian women with the contraceptive Depo-Provera.
Gamzu sent out a letter to HMOs telling them "not to renew prescriptions for Depo-Provera for women of Ethiopian origin if for any reason there is concern that they might not understand the ramifications of the treatment," the news site Haaretz reported Sunday.
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