Iran’s parliament is seeking a ban on vasectomies and a tightening of abortion rules as the country moves away from its progressive laws on family planning in an attempt to increase the birthrate. Two decades after Iran initiated an effective birth control programme, including subsidised male sterilisation surgeries and free condom distribution, the country is to make a U-turn.
Last year the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, criticised existing policy on contraception, describing it as an imitation of western lifestyle. The 74-year-old has urged the government to tackle what he believes to be an ageing population and to double the number of people in Iran from 77 million to at least 150 million.
This week Tehran’s conservative-dominated parliament, the Majlis, voted to discuss banning vasectomies and introducing punishments for those involved in encouraging contraceptive services and abortions, local agencies reported. The semi-official Fars news agency reported that an overwhelming majority of Iranian MPs had consented to consider the bill. Given the influence of Khamenei among MPs, the proposals are likely to pass.