President Barack Obama visited Cuba today but this was one international destination where Obama didn’t have to peddle his pro-abortion values. Cuba is already a nation where abortion is not only legal but used as birth control.
Cuba is the exception to the norm when it comes to Latin American nations and abortions. Countries in Central and South America typically have strong pro-life laws prohibiting all or most abortions, in concert with their Catholic faith.
Cuba, on the other hand, legalized abortion 50 years ago and it has become a method of contraception. Abortion has become so pervasive in Cuba that many women rely on it as birth control in stead of using the birth control pill or contraception.
The high abortion rate in Cuba has also increased the number of women having complications and dying from the abortion procedure. IPS reports that the Public Health Ministry’s Health Statistics Yearbook indicates 11 women died in 2004 alone from botched abortions.
Cuba health officials believe that more than 70 percent of women who have infertility problems have a history of one or more abortions.
Raimundo Rojas, a Cuban-Ameican who is the Hispanic outreach director for National Right to Life, told LifeNews.com he’s distressed but not surprised that abortion has become “commonplace” in Cuba.
“There is no pro-life movement in Cuba,” he explained. “Those who speak out against it are arrested, brutalized, and terrorized in their communities.”
Rojas pointed to the case of Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet, who was arrested and served three years in a prison camp after publishing an article condemning abortion. After he was released, Biscet was again arrested and is serving 22 years in prison for anti-government views.
While women have died from abortions in Cuba, maternal mortality is relatively low there compared to other nations. Rojas said the UNFPA is wrongly claiming that legalizing abortion has lowered those rates.
“Their claim that a decrease in maternal mortality is directly attributed to a nation’s abortion laws is as false as it is dangerous and shows in what slight regard these organizations hold women’s health,” he explained. “Cuba has more doctors than most nations, and healthcare is free and widely accessible — that, and not the decriminalization of abortion, is what keeps the maternal mortality low.”
Dave Andrusko of National Right to Life profiled cases of women who have had as many as 10 abortions:
I was vaguely aware that abortion is very common in Cuba. But until a friend forwarded me a story from the New York Times, I had no idea that abortion is rampant.
The narrative arc is build around an unmarried couple that has (as the headline suggests) “An abundance of love” but no kids. And that’s because they’ve already aborted two.
The story, written by Azam Ahmed, strongly suggests she would abort future pregnancies–a reflection of many factors, including
Abortion is legal, free and commonly practiced. There is no stigma attached to the procedure, helping to make Cuba’s reported abortion rates among the highest in the world. In many respects, abortion is viewed as another manner of birth control.
Tragically, abortion appears to be woven into the culture. Women in Cuba, Ahmed writes,
speak openly about abortions, and lines at clinics often wrap around the building.
By the numbers, the country exhibits a rate of nearly 30 abortions for every 1,000 women of childbearing age, according to 2010 data compiled by the United Nations. Among countries that permit abortion, only Russia had a higher rate. In the United States, 2011 figures show a rate of about 17.
The epidemic of abortion is not new. The couple tell Ahmed that their mothers each had four abortions. The man, “smirking,” says the woman’s aunt had “undergone 10 procedures.”