Israel’s Fertility Policy Bears Fruit

January 30, 2013

Most interestingly, since 2008 there has been evidence of a widespread resolve within Israeli society to drive down the fertility of its Ethiopian minority through forcefully persuading poorly educated black women into accepting injections of the Depo-Provera contraceptive.

Depo-Provera has long figured prominently among the bugaboos of leftist and black conspiracy theorists. They see it as part of the White Man’s Plot to reduce black fertility.

They may be right.

First tested on black welfare mothers in Georgia in 1967, Depo-Provera injections are publicly said to work for three months, although I’ve been told that they are effective for longer. (Note: Do not take medical advice from me.) The three-month label is supposed to be a cover story to get the more scatterbrained patients back in for another shot before the old one wears off.

Depo-Provera has long been most widely used in Third World countries but wasn’t approved for American use until the peak of the crack crisis in 1992. As hoped and/or feared, it has been more often prescribed to African Americans. It appears to have helped drive down their birthrate from the peak in 1991.

In Israel, Ethiopian women have said on camera that Israeli immigration officials told them that they wouldn’t be allowed into the country without taking Depo-Provera shots. They claim to have been subsequently browbeaten into staying on the contraceptive. One study found that Ethiopian women account for 57 percent of all Israel’s Depo-Provera prescriptions.

In December, an Israeli news show recorded an Israeli nurse telling an Ethiopian immigrant that the injections are given

primarily to Ethiopian women because they forget, they don’t understand, and it’s hard to explain to them, so it’s best that they receive a shot once every three months…basically they don’t understand anything.

Whether the Israeli approach to reducing black fertility is written or unwritten, it seems to be working. The Ethiopian-Israeli fertility rate is said to have dropped by nearly 50 percent in the last decade.

In contrast to Israelis, who obsess over demographics, Americans are never allowed to think about how proposed policies such as amnesty and guest workers will impact fertility, even though the current interpretation of the 14th Amendment grants instant citizenship to any child born in the US.

Overall, Israel’s government and society have done an impressive job showing that a determined polity can alter fertility rates in its own favor. It was long said that the Jewish state was doomed by the much higher total fertility of Israeli Muslims, who as recently as 2000 were having babies at a rate of 4.57 per lifetime compared to only 2.67 for Israeli Jews. How could anyone possibly close that gap?

Yet by 2011, the Muslim TFR had fallen to 3.51, while the Jewish TFR grew to 2.98.

Israel deserves careful study by Americans. It demonstrates what an intelligent, self-governing people can accomplish.

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