Iran Bans All Permanent Birth Control
Nation's government reacts to declining birthrates
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 12, 2014 4:00 PM CDT
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei waves to a crowd just outside Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, June 4, 2014.   (AP Photo/Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader)

(Newser) – Bad news for Iranians wanting small families: The country plans to ban vasectomies and other permanent forms of birth control and punish all violators as criminals, the Washington Post reports. In fact any advertising of birth control will become illegal, Reuters notes, a stark turnaround for a nation that once promoted birth control and gave away condoms for free. So why is the Ayatollah Khamenei supporting the new bill and urging young Iranians to resist "undesirable aspects of Western lifestyles" by having bigger families? Because of Iran's low birthrate, which has sunk to 1.8 children per woman, a full 0.3 children less than is needed to keep up the present population, IRNA reports.

Iran had the opposite problem in the 1980s, when its population was growing too fast for the economy—so the government promoted birth control and required couples to have family-planning counseling before marriage. Women indeed had fewer babies, got more involved in the workforce, and eventually outnumbered men in higher education. "Government officials were wrong on this matter, and I, too, had a part," Khamenei said in 2012. "May God and history forgive us." Now critics say the new plan could cause a rise in abortions (which are only legal when a mother's life is at risk), and may force women out of the workplace into "traditional roles," reports the Post. Before taking effect, the bill needs approval from a council to ensure that it jibes with Islamic law.

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Aug 14, 2014 12:19 AM CDT
Perhaps if those religious nuts who rule Iran ceased sending their young men to fight Terrorist Wars in other Countries, they would stay at home, very likely bored out of their skulls, with little to do considering the Unemployment due to sanctions, would thus put their wee willies to use & produce more Babies for their Political Masters?
Aug 13, 2014 9:42 PM CDT
Aug 13, 2014 11:34 AM CDT
scoonjodi says "Who needs more Iranian's running around?" And.... you have a very good point! But there are some good things that come from Iran. They are among the top of the world in certain specialized areas of biology and physics, such as stem cell research and nanotechnology. They have a lot of oil and pistachios. And although they only get 2 or 3 million tourists a year, they have a lot of potential as they have a 5 star tropical resort island (Kish Island) with ultra fancy hotels and opulent shopping malls, aquariums, etc. They also have a lot of well developed ski resorts and beautiful fall foliage.