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Iran lawmakers approve birth-control surgeries ban

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 24, 2014 at 12:32 pm •  Published: June 24, 2014
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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian lawmakers approved a bill Tuesday criminalizing birth-control surgeries amid a drop in the country's population, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported.

The agency said 106 lawmakers out of 207 voted for the bill, which would imprison those convicted of performing vasectomies and tubal ligations for two to five years. Opponent of the bill warn that it could lead to Iranians seeking underground medical care that could be dangerous.

The bill requires more debate on its details and ratification by a constitutional watchdog before becoming law.

Last year, some 100,000 people underwent birth-control surgery in Iran.

Having successfully curbed birth rates for two decades, Iran now is promoting a baby boom to help make up for its graying population. Last year, parliament approved a bill that allows the government to increase maternity leaves.

Iran's birthrate reached a peak of 3.6 children per couple after its 1979 Islamic Revolution, among the world's highest at the time. By 1990, experts estimated Iran could be home to 140 million people if the rate was left unchecked. To combat the rise, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei endorsed birth control, while then-President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani made controlling the birth rate a part of his development plans.

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