Iran’s Minister of Health has challenged the new legislation passed by Parliament to criminalize vasectomies and tubectomies, saying the legislation is in violation of citizens’ rights.
ISNA reports that Mohammad Esmail Motlagh, the ministry’s head of population, family and school health, was commenting on the new legislation passed in Parliament aimed at preventing a population decrease. He said that when policies affecting childbirth are being put in place, it’s important to consider the health of mothers and children and especially citizens’ rights.
The general content of the legislation to prevent population decline was passed on Tuesday June 24, 2014 by a vote of 106 to 72 with eight abstaining. If the details are also passed by Parliament, anyone involved in an abortion, vasectomy, tubal ligation or any form of birth-control promotion could get two to five years in prison.
Motlagh stated that instead of penalizing the use of birth control, Parliament could implement incentives to encourage new births, adding that consultation with the Ministry of Health in this matter should be paramount.
Since last year, when Iran’s Supreme Leader retracted his earlier support for population control and called for bigger families, hospitals have stopped offering free vasectomies and tubal ligations, and birth control workshops in cities and rural areas have been discontinued.