In a bid to bypass the status of the world’s oldest country, the Government of Iran is nosing in its citizen’s family planning by cutting measures to control birth through state-run medical centres.
According to the health minister of Iran, if no action is taken to revive a population with fewer births and increasingly ageing, and where the annual population growth has dropped below 1 %, the country could become the world’s oldest, BBC reports.
State-run Iraqi hospitals have reportedly stopped performing vasectomy and contraceptives has been limited for women at high risk, according to the BBC citing Iranian news agency Irna. Other measures to boost population like boosting maternity leaves and reimbursing cash rewards for newborns are in effect. However, the services are still available in private hospitals.
According to World Bank data, Islamic Rep. of Iran was recorded of having a 1.4% growth of population. According to Iran’s state-run news agency Irna, marriage and children in marriage are on the decline. The reason for less childbirth is economic hardship in raising children, Irna reports.
“With this trend, we will be one of the oldest countries in the world in the next 30 years,” Deputy Health Minister Seyed Hamed Barakati said last month while reporting 40% drop of marriage rate within a decade. According to The Guardian, Iranian women are now bearing 1.7 children on an average instead of 2.2 required to maintain steady population growth.
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Back in 2013 when this bills to boost population were introduced, international humanitarian agency Amnesty International condemned the law as reducing women into “baby-making machines” through the “extreme lengths the Iranian authorities are going to in order to encourage repeated childbearing in a misguided attempt to boost the country’s declining population figures.”
The Bill “Increase Fertility Rates and Prevent Population Decline (Bill 446)” outlaws voluntary sterilization, reduced state’s backing in family planning and restricted in access to condoms, among other means. All these, a U-turn from the state’s previous measure to curb population under the famous slogan “two children is enough.”
Right-wing politicians have been critical of Iran’s way in dealing with population stagnation, citing risking women participation in workforces and reducing their status to just “baby making machines.” Women make up to 60- per cent of Iran’s Univerity strength, yet have one of the lowest labour-force participation in the world, The Guardian reports.