Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Contraception ban to tackle baby shortage

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TEHRAN -- Iran's parliament took a step closer this week to criminalizing permanent forms of contraception, in a move intended to turn around a decreasing population rate.

The framework of legislation that would ban abortions, vasectomies, tubectomies and any form of sterilization passed. Convicted offenders would face lengthy prison terms. Also included in the bill was a prohibition on any advertisement that promotes decreases in the birth rate. Lawmakers have not yet clarified who will be punished -- health-care providers or patients who choose to undertake these procedures.

The move is a response to calls from Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to increase the country's population, which rapidly grew in the years following the 1979 revolution.

In the late 1980s, contraception and other forms of birth control became widely available and the birth rate slowed dramatically. Some officials now believe such measures were a mistake.

-- The Washington Post

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 28, 2014 D7

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