A member of Iran’s parliament says based on Islamic norms Iranian women should not have to go to male gynecologists and obstetricians for treatment.
The deputy chair of parliament’s health committee, Mohammad Pakmehr, said on Saturday that authorities are taking steps so “even in exceptional cases, our women do not have to go to a male doctor.”
His remarks echoed a petition by the hardline news website Fars to prohibit the presence of male doctors and nurses from entering delivery rooms in Iran’s hospitals.
The petition has collected about 35,000 signatures in about 10 days and still is counting.
The petitions page of the Fars news agency, affiliated to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, is designed with a maximum target of 50,000 signatures that Fars claims it would be enough to make the case considered for a public discussion in Iran’s parliament.
The petition says it is to protect the rights of Muslim women of the Islamic Republic. “It is my right to give birth to my child in an environment free from sins”, read the last sentence of the text.
In November 2020, Iran’s Leader Ali Khamenei issued a fatwa banning male surgeons from performing cosmetic procedures on women. Such religious decrees by top clerics are binding in Iran and must be followed by the country’s medical society.