Millions of Iranian women victimized by gender apartheid in medical centers

The mullahs' Majlis ratified yesterday a bill called, "Adaptation of the administrative and technical affairs of medical institutions to the standards of religious law." Previously called the plan of "unification of medical affairs," this plan was first tabled in the Majlis several months ago. People from all walks of life, especially women and those in the medical profession, have protested this plan.

Last May, the regime's repressive forces attacked and beat up a number of physicians attending a gathering of 1,800 surgeons in Tehran who opposed this plan. In July, 2,200 physicians and medical students signed a petition, describing this bill as an affront to medical profession.

According to this law, all governmental or non-governmental centers and institutions affiliated with the Ministry of Health and Medical Care must segregate their services. This includes all hospitals, maternity hospitals, sanitariums, clinics, doctors' offices, pharmacies, physiotherapy and hydrotherapy clinics, radiology centers, nuclear medical centers, all health clinics in cities and villages, all injection and dressing centers formed with the permission of the Ministry of Health and Medical care. The bill also covers similar units in the schools of medical science and their technical and administrative staff.

The mullahs' Majlis stipulated that a "Supreme Council of adaptation" be set up in the Ministry of Health and Medical Care to monitor the implementation of this plan which costs tens of billions of rials.

Ms. Sarvnaz Chitsaz, chairwoman of the Women's Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, emphasized that women are the prime victims of this anti-human law. She said: This discriminatory measure is an obvious example of the gender apartheid sponsored by the mullahs' regime as it imposes further restrictions on women's access to medical services. Millions more of Iranian women will be deprived of medical services and facilities as a result of this measure.

Ms. Chitsaz added: This segregation, justified under the banner of Islam, is inherent to the inhuman and repressive nature of the regime. These restrictions are mechanisms to repress particularly women who have a great potential to oppose the regime.

The law, she said, shows that Khatami's claims of observing women's rights are baseless. Previously, as the head of the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution, the mullahs' President rejected the regime's joining the Universal Declaration to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
October 5, 1998

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