Human Rights Watch warns Iranian population growth law will put women at risk

Human Rights Watch warned on Wednesday that a new Iranian law to raise the birth rate would put women’s lives at risk by denying them access to reproductive health care.

The bill, which is expected to become law later this month, offers various additional benefits to families with children and prohibits sterilization and free distribution of contraceptives in the public health system, unless a pregnancy threatens the health of a woman.

“Iranian lawmakers are avoiding tackling the many serious problems facing Iranians, including government incompetence, corruption and repression, and instead attack the human rights of women,” said Tara Sepehri Far, senior researcher on Iran to HRW.

“The Population Growth Law openly undermines the rights, dignity and health of half of the country’s population, denying them access to essential reproductive health care and information.

Over the past decade, Iran has shifted its population policy from family planning and access to contraception to seeking increased population growth by limiting women’s access to health care. sexual and reproductive health.

HRW said several articles of the new legislation further restrict already restricted access to safe abortion.

Currently, abortion can be legally performed during the first four months of pregnancy if three doctors agree that a pregnancy threatens a woman’s life or that the fetus has severe physical or mental disabilities that would create extreme hardship for her. mother.

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