Premarital Sex, Abortion on Rise in Iran
Marriage rates dip, despite Tehran's efforts
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 29, 2008 3:02 PM CST
An Iraqi woman rests her Quran on her head in order to free both hands to pray, at a ceremony anticipating the start of the holy month of Ramadan, at a mosque in the holy city of Najaf, Iraq, Sunday,...   (AP Photo/Alaa al-Marjani)
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(Newser) – Iran’s Islamic law bans premarital sex and abortion, but an increasing number of Iranians are engaging in both, the Guardian reports. More than a quarter of men aged 19 to 29 had premarital sex, and 13% of those situations resulted in the termination of an unwanted pregnancy, a state survey found. The average age of marriage spiked to 40 for men, 35 for women.

The figures represent a setback for Tehran’s efforts to promote weddings, dialed up after the marriage rate dipped an unprecedented 1.2% in 2005. The government blamed the “unpleasant and dangerous social side effects” of premarital sex, but many Iranians cite economic hardship. One sociologist posits that working, educated women are unlikely “to accept masculine domination through marriage.”