Abortion rate worries Iranian health experts

Iran Materials 12 May 2012 13:42 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, May 10/Trend M. Moezzi

While Iran's government pursues the policy to increase its population, health experts are worried over the country's growing abortion rate.

Health Ministry officials say that about 80,000 legal and illegal abortions are made in Iran annually. About 17 percent of the country's 1.2 million births are unwanted, the Tabnak.ir website reports.

Some health experts call those figures "optimistic" and contend Iran's abortion rate is much higher than it was officially reported.

According to the Islamic law, abortion is illegal in Iran although permission can be sought if the life of the mother or fetus is endangered.

Despite that prohibition, Iran's legal abortion rate has recently grown 20 percent. While it has dropped in some provinces like Fars, Bushehr and Lorestan, it has grown in others like Tehran and Khuzestan.

In 2005, Iran's Majlis (parliament) approved an amendment to the country's abortion law to permit terminating a pregnancy when three experts say it is necessary and the coroner confirms that the fetus could be mentally or physically impaired or if the mother suffers from an illness that makes pregnancy dangerous.