The Plan to Increase Birth Rate and Prevent Population Decline
In April 2014, Parliament took up the Plan to Increase Birth Rate and Prevent Population Decline. The Shargh newspaper reported that this bill banned abortion, vasectomy, and tubectomy, and punished the prevention of pregnancy by two to five years in prison.
As the public outcry over the bill grew, Shahrvand newspaper reported on July 2, 2014, that some punishments contemplated in the bill might be removed. Shahrvand stated, “Media outlets widely reported Parliament’s decision to eventually put the bill to vote. Since then MPs have faced much criticism. The Ministry of Health has said the bill is against civil rights and harms the health of mothers and infants. Also women’s rights activists and sociologists have described the punishments unreasonable and said it could have the reverse effect. They all agree that people cannot be forced into doing something.”
Introduced in April 2014, the bill was sent to the Public Health Committee of Parliament, where it was passed in June 2014. It was then introduced on the floor of Parliament in July where it was approved and passed on for the required approval by the Guardian Council. The Council wanted certain articles changed, and sent the bill back to the Public Health Committee to address those issues. In August 2014, it was announced that the existing Plan had been shelved for undisclosed reasons, and that the Committee was working on more comprehensive legislation regarding this issue.