Iran’s annual abortion rate reaches 220,000 cases

Iran’s annual abortion rate reaches 220,000 cases

Tehran, Iran, Sept. 28

By Milad Fashtami - Trend:

Mohammad Esmaeil Motlagh, an official with Iran's health ministry, said that annually 220,000 abortions are being carried out in the country.

"Annually some 1.7 million women get pregnant in Iran but only 1.4 million babies are being born," he said, Iran's IRNA News Agency reported on September 28.

He went on to note that the government tries to reduce the rate of mothers' death to 15 out of 100,000 deliveries by the end of the Fifth Five-year Socio-Economic Development Plan (2011-2015).

Deputy Health Minister Ali Akbar Sayyari said on July 15 that only 7,000 cases out of the country's toal abortions are performed legally and the rest are carried out in places without legal licenses, Iran's IRNA News Agency reported.

He went on to note that if the government stops providing necessary services, the situation will get worse in future.

"Financial problems and women's desire to continue their studies without being forced to take care of babies are the main reasons behind the abortions," he said.

"The ones who are opposing abortion are not aware of the real dangers of unplanned pregnancy," he added.

Iranian parliament has passed a bill to increase the country's population.

It is while the government is against the plan.

Iranian Parliament speaker, Ali Larijani, previously said that abortions are dangerous, adding that financial problems are no excuse to carry out abortion.

"The country's population growth is desirable now, but the high rate of divorces and the gap between marriage and having a child are not good," he said.

Iranian lawmakers say population levels are dropping - and to reverse that, they want to ban vasectomies and scale back abortions.

They're mulling new measures now that would punish those who encourage contraception, or who perform vasectomies, The Guardian reported.

The leader of Iran's Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has been critical of the nation's open door to contraception for years, saying allowing women to abort and men to sterilize is too Western and that it would lead to a dwindled population level in the nation.

As recently as October, he said to the government-run Fars news agency: "We will be a country of elderly people in a not-too-distant future. Why do some [couples] prefer to have one one or two children? Why do men or women avoid having children through different means? The reasons need to be studied. We are now a country of 75 million, we have [the ability] to become at least 150 million people, if not more."

That wasn't the first time Ayatollah Khamenei has called for more procreation. In prior speeches, he's actually ignited lawmakers to action and led them to scale back subsidies for male sterilization procedures.

The Guardian reported that about 70 percent of Iran's population are younger than 35.

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