An underground office for abortion in Iran

Raisi Administration Criticized for Inconsistent Abortion Policies

Saturday, 05/18/2024

President Ebrahim Raisi's recent remarks describing Iran's abortion statistics as "alarming," have sparked accusations of hypocrisy.

Critics argue that his administration, despite heavy investment, has failed to provide accurate data on abortion rates, contradicting his public stance.

On Saturday, Raisi advocated for measures to reduce voluntary pregnancy terminations, emphasizing the need for greater control. However, the irony lies in his government's inability to accurately track or report the very figures.

The National Population Headquarters, established under the controversial 2021 Family and Youth Population Support Law, has yet to release any concrete statistics on abortion types and numbers, despite a significant budget of nearly $750 million allocated for population initiatives over the past two years.

In contrast, informal estimates suggest that between 350,000 and 530,000 abortions are performed annually, with some figures suggesting numbers as high as 650,000. The majority of these procedures reportedly occur illegally without medical supervision, putting women’s health and even lives, in serious danger.

The regime's strict policies on abortion and contraception, aimed at rapidly doubling the Shiite population, face strong resistance from the public. Many Iranians continue to choose smaller family sizes, directly undermining Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's demographic goals. The widespread non-compliance illustrates a clear rejection of the government's intrusive reproductive policies.

Despite a younger generation that is well-versed in contraception methods, the government has removed the options from all public health facilities, effectively limiting access to necessary family planning resources.

Such disconnect between the government's authoritarian reproductive policies and the actual reproductive behaviors of its citizens highlights a significant challenge to Raisi's administration, questioning its ability to govern effectively while respecting the personal freedoms and health of its people.

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