Iran Just Put a Restriction On Women's Fertility

In order to combat the country's rapidly declining fertility rate.

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To combat the country's rapidly declining fertility rate, Iranian lawmakers have outlawed any form of "permanent contraception." That means that all surgical procedures are prohibited and punishable by fine as well as the advertisement of birth control. In a country where increasing restrictions have been enacted on women's education, these now-forbidden advertisements could have a direct impact on a woman's right to understanding her body and controlling her own choices.

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Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, argues that the new legislation wasn't passed to undermine the power of women, but rather to prevent a potential decline in population. In the past 35 years, the average number of children for an Iranian family has fallen from 3.6 to 1.3 today. As contraceptive measures are typically used to ensure the absence of unplanned pregnancies, it's safe to assume that Iranian lawmakers hope that this will lead to a higher birth rate. Think of this as the opposite of China's much-debated "one child" law. Regardless of supposed intent, this law cuts off women's fundamental rights, and nothing is worth that sacrifice.

Photo via Getty Images

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