Iran: 16 organisations urge condemnation of attack on reproductive rights

In the past decade, Iran has intensified its efforts to limit women's fundamental rights, notably in the sphere of reproductive autonomy. This trend underscores a broader pattern within the country, where women's rights face persistent and escalating restrictions. Under the guise of addressing declining population growth, the government has introduced increasingly discriminatory legislation severely limiting access to vital sexual and reproductive healthcare and family planning services such as access to abortion, essential prenatal screening and contraception. Several measures further criminalise healthcare providers and strip women of bodily autonomy, perpetuating systemic discrimination, now widely acknowledged.

Severely restricting reproductive rights is connected to gendered torture and violence against women. Severe limitations on abortion access, especially in cases of rape, incest, fetal unviability and where the health of the woman is at risk, can constitute torture or cruel and inhuman treatment under international law. Moreover, reproductive restrictions tend to perpetuate further gender-based violence, particularly domestic and intimate partner violence. For instance, women who lack control over their reproductive choices often find themselves trapped in abusive relationships, forced into economic dependencies on their abusers. Essential to addressing gender-based violence is empowering women to assert control over their bodies and reproductive choices.

In a joint statement, the OMCT, alongside 15 other civil society organisations, urges Iran to repeal legislation that reinforces the subjugated status of women, ultimately jeopardizing their bodily integrity, security, and lives.