Iran’s Parliament Votes to Liberalize Abortion Laws

In an attempt to end the high numbers of maternal deaths due to backstreet abortions in Iran, Iran’s parliament voted to liberalize its restrictive abortion laws to allow pregnancies to be terminated in the first four months if the fetus is mentally or physically handicapped. Under the new bill, both parents must still give their consent for the abortion. Women will also need confirmation from three doctors that the fetus is damaged before an abortion can be performed, reports BBC News.

Currently, Iranian women can terminate a pregnancy legally only if their life is in danger. The mother and the person who performs an illegal abortion can face between three to ten years in jail, reports Agence France Presse.

Local Iranian media reports that at least 80,000 illegal and unsafe abortions are performed annually in Iran. Many believe that that number is much higher due to the high numbers of unreported abortions that take place every year.

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BBC News 4/12/05; Agence France Presse 4/13/05

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