Draft legislation aimed at boosting a flagging birth rate threatens to reduce Iranian women to “baby-making machines” and set their rights back by decades, Amnesty International warned on Wednesday.
The London-based human rights group said that a first bill, which has already been approved once by parliament, would restrict access to contraception, forcing women into unsafe backstreet abortions.
It said the second draft law would close many jobs to women who choose not to or are unable to have children. “The authorities are promoting a dangerous culture in which women are stripped of key rights and viewed as baby-making machines rather than human beings with fundamental rights to make choices about their own bodies and lives,” it said.
The draft legislation comes in response to a call by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to double Iran’s population to 150 million within 50 years.
Iranian officials have expressed alarm at its ageing population, with one warning the population growth rate could fall to zero “within 30 years”.