Determinants and policy implications of abortion in Iran

Meimanat Hosseini Chavoshi, Australian National University
Peter McDonald, Australian National University
Mohammad J. Abbasi-Shavazi , University of Tehran

With the reduction of desired and actual fertility, unintended pregnancies and the demand for abortion are rising in Iran. However, abortion is permitted in Iran only when the mother’s life is in danger or when there is a major foetal abnormality. Most abortions are thus sought as a result of unintended pregnancies, beyond the law. The aim of this paper is to examine the institutional context and actors engaged in abortion in Iran. The paper will first discuss the context within which abortion is being practiced. Second, using the 2005 Iran Low Fertility Survey, the paper will examine the socio-demographic pattern of practicing abortion. Third, we will analyze qualitative data from around 200 women who had experienced unintended pregnancy to investigate social, familial and religious issues in their decision making process on abortion as well as their access to abortion services. Information will also be gathered from services providers. Finally, policy implications of abortion for Iran and other Islamic countries are discussed.

Presented in Session 84: Sexual and reproductive health: abortion