Iran

Free Contraceptives Banned at Public Health Centers in Iran

February 1, 2022
OstanWire
2 min read
Free Contraceptives Banned at Public Health Centers in Iran

The Iranian Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned the free distribution and subsidized sale of contraceptive items amid a public row over the newly-adopted Law on Family Protection and Youth.

Guidelines issued on Monday by the watchdog’s director-general of controlled drugs, Hamid Reza Inanloo, stated that staff at Ministry of Health-affiliated hospitals across the country are forbidden from giving out contraceptives for free, or encouraging patients to use them.

The guidelines are part of the new Law on Family Protection and Youth, which was finally approved by the Guardian Council last November.

Before the ratification, the bill bore the similarly euphemistic title of the “Population Youth Plan” and came as part of a Supreme Leader-endorsed government drive to boost childbearing in Iran.

The law includes multiple radical, potentially dangerous provisions that critics say will only increase the number of Iranians turning to illegal abortions. Article 51 prohibits the promotion and free distribution of contraceptives in healthcare settings, while Article 52 bans even the voluntary sterilization of men and women in Iran.

Article 53 of the same law states that a failure to refer a pregnant woman for screening for fetal abnormalities, either by a physician or by other healthcare workers, will not be considered an offence and will not be prosecuted.

The law also allows for data on all patients’ fertility, pregnancy and abortion histories to be recorded and shared between all Iranian medical institutions, public and private. It also stipulates that a new “abortion council” featuring at least three “mujtahid jurists” be set up with the express purpose of monitoring and controlling abortion. The Ministry of Intelligence, and other agencies such as the Passive Defense Organization, are newly obliged to treat infertility as a security issue.

Related coverage:

The Handmaid's Tale in Iran: Leaked Letter to Hospital Chief Sparks Fears for Pregnant Women

Parliament Drives Through Draconian Plan to Increase Childbearing in Iran

Parliament's Cash Incentives for New Babies Don't Add Up

More Than 600,000 Women Have Illegal Abortions in Iran Every Year

Special Report: Khamenei’s Delusional Population Growth Policy Endangers Iran’s Future

Ayatollah Khamenei: Go Forth and Multiply!

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