Ethiopian Jewish Immigrants & Reproductive Freedom

By Dana Fleitman, Program Coordinator

It was truly heartbreaking for me to stumble across the article, Israel admits Ethiopian Jewish immigrants were given birth control shots. The article explains, “the majority of the women given these shots say they were administered without their knowledge or consent” and “many women’s and immigrant rights advocates believe that the 50 percent decline in the past 10 years in the birthrate of Israel’s Ethiopian community is the result of the Israeli government’s attempt to limit and restrict Ethiopian women’s fertility through forcible birth control injections.”

All women deserve reproductive freedom. While this case may initially appear even more bizarre because the Ethiopian women are, in fact, Jewish, the truth is that all people, of all races and religions, have the right to control their reproduction, and our painful collective past should make us all the more understanding and supportive of all people’s right to live and thrive.

This practice has ceased, and the Health Ministry has admitted to disproportionately administering birth control to Ethiopian Jewish women.  All Jews should understand the travesty of this practice and make it clear that this does not embody our values of justice, caring for others and the inherent value of life.

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