An ultrasound image of baby in mother's womb (file photo)

An ultrasound image of baby in mother's womb

Tasnim News Agency Raises Alarm Over Abortion Numbers


In an attack on abortion in Iran, the Tasnim news agency, which is affiliated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, proclaimed Thursday that 1,000 “Shiite children are murdered by their parents every day.”

Tasnim cited data from the health ministry dating back five years. The agency claimed that only ten of 1,000 abortions had been legal, with 93 percent of the women married and 7 percent single. A daily figure of 1,000 is half the 2,000 – or around 700,000 a year – claimed last year by Amirhossein Bankipour, head of the parliament’s population committee.

While figures on terminations are generally unreliable, the United Nations last year used government figures to estimate between 300,000 and 600,000 illegal abortions a year, even though the terms of a 1991 law allowing abortion to save the woman’s life had been gradually extended.

Despite a global inverse correlation between abortion and access to contraceptives, the Iranian parliament has passed legislation outlawing tubectomy, vasectomy, and the free dispensation of contraceptives other than where pregnancy would threaten a woman's health.

Supreme leader Ali Khamenei earlier this month said that efforts to increase Iran’s population – including legal measures and cultural work – were urgently required given the “dangers of an aging population.” Iran’s median age of 32, although around the same as Saudi Arabia and Israel, is higher than many Middle Eastern countries including Jordan at 24, Iraq at 21, and Afghanistan at 18.

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