By Mahtab Amin
The Iranian regime is continuing its war on women, this time under the guise of population growth. Over the years people in Iran have become hesitant to having children considering the type of environment the child would be raised in. The Iranian regime has proposed two new laws claiming they are for the purpose of solving the population crisis, however it is clear that they are yet another attempt at controlling women.
The first proposed bill is called The Bill to Increase Fertility Rates and Prevent Population Decline (Bill 446), which outlaws voluntary sterilization and blocks access to information about contraception, denying women the opportunity to make informed decisions about having children. This bill also eliminates state funding for Iran’s family planning program.
The passing of Bill 446 would without a doubt result in a greater numbers of unwanted pregnancies, giving women no choice but to seek illegal and unsafe abortions.
The second bill, The Comprehensive Population and Exaltation of Family Bill (Bill 315), orders all private and public entities to prioritize potential employees when hiring, in sequence based on, men with children, married men without children, and married women with children.
Bill 315 makes it so that if a woman wants to get a job she needs to be married with children. A woman would be forced to stay in an unhealthy or even abusive marriage for the sole reason of having a job.
Despite claims made by the so-called “moderate” president, Hassan Rouhani, that men and women are treated equally; these laws further prove that it is far from the truth. Women in Iran are denied equal rights when it comes to marriage, divorce, child custody, inheritance, travel, and the type of clothing they wear.
Instead of being progressive and moving forward, the Iranian regime is taking women back decades by having them viewed solely as baby-making machines. In the past authorities tried to control women in terms of what they wear, where they work, and what they study, but now they are interfering with their private lives by seeking control of their bodies.
The Iranian regime fears the empowerment of women. They understand that women are the root of change in Iran, considering how women were in the frontlines of the uprisings in 2009 and with Iran’s main opposition organization being led by women.
Despite all of the repression and discrimination attacks by the Iranian regime against women, they have remained resilient and in fact emerged stronger than ever. The discrimination by the government, or the acid attacks by thugs have further strengthened the resolve of the Iranian people, especially the women, to stand against this barbaric regime. We must stand with them.
Mahtab Amin is a student at the University of California, Davis and a human rights activist focused on issues in Iran.