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December 10, 2012

JDC's Ethiopia Medical Director Denies Forced Sterilization

Dr. Rick HodesDr. Rick Hodes denies an Israel Educational Television report that alleged that Falash Mura women were forced to take shots of the long-acting birth control drug Depo-Provera by the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and the Government of Israel in order to be cleared for immigration to Israel. IET also claimed that the women were forced to continue the shots once they arrived in Israel and were housed in JDC-run absorption centers.

Dr. Rick Hodes
Dr. Rick Hodes


Dear Shmarya,

Thanks for your inquiry.

JDC runs the medical program in Gondar for potential immigrants to
Israel. As part of this, we offer voluntary contraception to our
population. Our clinic offers both birth control pills and injectable
contraception. If a woman prefers another method of contraception such
as implantable or tubal ligation, we send them to facilities down the
road in the city of Gondar for this.

Women come to the program because they desire family planning. We
present the various options to them and they choose. So women both
choose to use contraception and choose their method. And choose when
to discontinue contraception. It has always been that way in our

Right now we’re caring for about 4500 potential immigrants to Israel.
We average about 85 family planning visits each month.

We do not inform the Israeli authorities who is on family planning,
and I have no idea what happens once they arrive in Israel.

Regarding the rate of 30% reported some years ago, we offered family
planning to the population at a time when it was less available to the
general public, and our population chose to use it.

At present, the rate of modern contraceptive use in Amhara Region is
33% indicating a significant demand, as contraceptive services have
become more available to the public. Even now, there is an unmet
demand for contraceptive services in this region of over 20%. To give
you an idea of the rise in this service, in 2005, 15.7% used modern
contraception in Amhara region.

Injectable contraceptives are the most desired throughout the country.
They are easy, culturally preferred, and offer the ability to be on
birth control without a woman informing her husband, which is an issue

I appreciate the chance to set this record straight.

Best wishes,

Rick Hodes, MD, MACP
Medical Director, AJJDC-Ethiopia


Update 9:50 am CST – I followed up with Dr. Hodes to make sure there was no mistake about what he was saying:

"So to be clear, you're saying that you personally never told any woman that she would have to take Depo-Provera shots in order to immigrate to Israel? The women claim that JDC workers from Israel told them they had to do it. Is that claim to the best of your knowledge false?"

Dr. Hodes replied:

To the best of my knowledge, this claim is 100% false.

Neither myself nor my staff have ever told any women in our program that they should take Depo-Provera for any reason. 100% of Depo-Provera shots are purely voluntary, and may be discontinued (or changed to another method) at any time.

In fact, we don't have JDC workers from Israel come and tell women
these things.

Related Post: Forced Sterilizations? Ethiopian Women Claim The Joint Distribution Committee And The Israel Health Ministry Forced Them To Receive Sterilization Shots.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Even in the absolute worst case scenario, there is a difference between taking a "long-acting birth control drug" and "forced sterilization."

Turned out Planned Parenthood also forced sterilize women by giving them

So what does the original reporter have to say about Dr. Hodes' claims? (and why didn't he contact Dr. Hodes in the first place?)

And what does Dr. Hodes have to say about the hidden camera comment?

…So what does the original reporter have to say about Dr. Hodes' claims? (and why didn't he contact Dr. Hodes in the first place?)

And what does Dr. Hodes have to say about the hidden camera comment?

Posted by: Sarek | December 10, 2012 at 10:13 AM

I have no idea what she has to say about Rick's claims.

I contacted Rick directly (after a delay in finding his email) because I've raised money for his volunteer work at Mother Teresa's orphanage in Addis and also met him years ago in Jerusalem.

Electricity is spotty in Addis, people aren't online 24/7, and connecting can take time.

I have no idea whether the reporter tried or not, or whether she relied on the JDC's spokespeople in Israel.

As for the hidden camera, that's in Israel, not in Addis, and he says pretty clearly that he has no idea what is going on there.

Turned out Planned Parenthood also forced sterilize women by giving them

Posted by: Bassy the Haredi Slayer | December 10, 2012 at 10:07 AM

I warned you to stop lying and to stop trolling.

But you just can't seem to do that.

You linked to a Planned Parenthood page about D-P, which is offered as a choice for some women who for various reasons can't take birth control pills or easily use other methods of birth control.

But you have to lie because you're a sick person.

And now you banned.

Go lie somewhere else.

Contrary to popular belief, women do not want to be pregnant over and over again like a brood mare.

Why I'm not surprised? ,...

Chinese workers in Israel sign no-sex contract.

Chinese workers at a company in Israel have been forced to agree not to have sex with or marry Israelis as a condition of getting a job,...


I was Rick's assistant for over a year and saw everything that happened. The family planning program was purely voluntary.

Depo-Provera is only effective for 90 days so how it can be referred as sterilization?

This Schmarya character banned someone because she didn't understand their sarcasm. That's on you, Schmarya. The person you banned was obviously using sarcasm, saying that if Israel "forced" this drug by offering it as a choice, then so too does Planned Parenthood.

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