by Majid Rafizadeh
Recently, Majlis (Iranian parliament), which is dominated by hardliners, has voted to ban vasectomies, permanent kinds of contraception, and impose restriction on women’s fertility. In addition, the bill bans advertisements aimed at promoting birth control. Any doctor, or woman, who violates the ban will be punished and prosecuted according to the new Islamist bill.
Since its establishment, the Islamic Republic has significantly exercised “biopower” (a term coined by the historian Michel Foucault) in order to control the population and particularly subjugate women to achieve the regime’s Islamist, religious, ideological, political, and economic objectives. According to Foucault, biopower is defined in The History of Sexuality as “an explosion of numerous and diverse techniques for achieving the subjugations of bodies and the control of populations.”
Under the new Islamist state, the Ayatollahs and ruling clerics utilized methods in order to control and exercise power over women to gradually take away their capacity to act in social affairs particularly by regulating their day to day activities, monitoring all their actions, as well as by having authority over their bodies.
For example, dress codes including (scarves, chador, etc) were imposed on women. Women could not wear what they desired out of the home. Women were encouraged to cover their bodies and dress more conservatively. And those who did not comply were laid off from work, fined, lashed, arrested, imprisoned, and attacked.
In addition, women’s bodies were predominantly defined by the Islamic Republic as a platform for satisfying their spouses. Women were banned from playing several sports. Instead, being a housewife and submissive was encouraged. The control of women’s bodies and their day-to-day activities were used as a formidable venue to subjugate, dehumanize, and sway women’s capacity in life.
On the other hand, what are the underlying reasons for the new restriction on women’s fertility under the Islamic law of Iran?
The fundamental reasons are political, ideological and religion-driven. The whole process of passing a bill to impose restriction on women’s fertility began by one man’s plan: Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei….