Iran's parliament led by supreme leader
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has voted to ban permanent forms of contraception and
birth control in a move to increase the country's population rate. The state
news agency IRNA reported that the bill endorses a ban on vasectomies and
tubectomies and any form of sterilization. Offenders of this ban would face
penalties and lengthy prison terms. The bill also endorsed a prohibition on any
advertisement that promotes birth control.
Khamenei encouraged Iranians to give birth
to more babies so as to "strengthen national identity" and counteract
"undesirable aspects of western lifestyles."
Billboard campaigns across the country,
over the last year, read, "A single blossom is not spring" and "More children,
better lives." This is in stark contrast to a previous campaign that advocated,
"Fewer kids, better lives " issued under Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi's rule in
The IRNA reports, the ban essentially aims
to promote population growth, however critics and conservatives expressed
concerned that this ban will curb the development of Iranian women and push
them into more domestic roles.
It was also reported, public health
advisors and other politicians fear that this ban will lead to an increase in
the number of illegal abortions. Abortion in Iran is legal. Though administered
only under circumstances that arise from danger to the mother's life or
specific foetal defects, the numbers remain high. The State media had reported
12,000 illegal abortions between March 2012 and March 2013, more than half the
total number in Iran that year.
Incentives that were offered to Iran
offered to families to have more children were reversed in the late 1980s owing
to a rapid population growth that could have put the economy in danger.
Currently Iran's birth rate stands at 1.6 children per woman, MP Ali Motahari
said, according to IRNA. At that rate, the population of more than 75 million
would fall to 31 million by 2094, and 47% of Iranians would be above the age of
60, said Mohamad Saleh Jokar, another MP. Data gathered by UN observe that the
average age in Iran will increase to 40 by 2030 from 28 in 2013.
Iran's ministry of health has announced
compensations for fertility treatments that will help Iranian couples to give
birth to more babies and push the population growth.