A law to increase the birth rate went into effect in Iran, after raising concerns about restrictions on access to some reproductive health and care services.
Parliament approved the “Family Support and Population Rejuvenation” law in October and it went into effect on Monday night, according to the presidency’s website.
They provide for elective screening, restrictions on abortion, and less access to contraceptives.
It also offers various benefits for families with children and a television campaign to encourage women to have children and to denounce celibacy or abortion.
United Nations experts and women’s rights activists criticized the measure.
“The consequences will be crippling for women’s and girls’ right to health and represent a worrying turnaround and backsliding by a country that has lauded progress in health law,” UN experts said on Tuesday. Press release.
For its part, the NGO Human Rights Watch denounced the law that puts women’s rights and lives at risk, by restricting access to some reproductive health services and services.
Afrose Safari Fred, an official with the welfare organization, warned on Monday that the law could increase the number of people with birth defects.
Masoud Mardani, of the National AIDS Commission, ruled last week that the law would help increase cases of HIV/AIDS, among other diseases.
“The rate of illegal abortions will also rise due to restrictions that mainly affect women,” local media quoted activist Azar Mansouri as saying.
The state launched a program in 1993, encouraging couples to have only two children, which showed rapid results.
But Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has been calling for several years to increase the population as a factor of “national strength”.
“God willing, the country’s population will reach 150 million,” he said in 2018.
The National Center for Statistics reported in 2019 that about 46.6% of the 83 million Iranians are under the age of 30, and the number of those under 30 has declined since 2010 at a negative growth rate of 3.24%.
In early November, Parliament Speaker Muhammad Baqir Qalibaf defended the law, describing it as supporting “young husbands and mothers”.
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