This is a sobering, terrifying article.
Cuba, a single-party Marxist-Leninist state since 1959, is officially secular or atheist, although 59% of the population are Christian (mostly Catholic).
Marcus Roberts writes for Australia’s MercatorNet, Nov. 4, 2015, that Cuba’s demographics are in dire straits. Since the 1970s, the birthrate has been in free fall, tilting population figures into decline.
Cuba already has the oldest population in all of Latin America. Experts predict that 50 years from now, Cuba’s population will have fallen by a third, with more than 40% of Cubans older than 60. That aging population will require a vast health care system, the likes of which the state cannot afford.
What is odd is that low birthrate is a problem much more common in rich, industrialized nations, instead of poor ones like Cuba.
The reasons for Cuba’s precipitous population decline include:
1. Cuban women, becoming educated, are marrying later and opting to have fewer children. As Dr Hazel Denton, a former World Bank economist who studied Cuban demographics and is now at Georgetown University, explains: “Education for women is the button you press when you want to change fertility preferences in developing countries…You educate the woman, then she has choices — she stays longer in school, marries at an older age, has the number of children she wants and uses contraception in a more healthy manner.”
2. Cuba’s economy of scant job opportunities, a shortage of available goods and a dearth of sufficient housing, all of which lead Cubans to postpone having children, sometimes indefinitely.
3. Millions of Cubans leave the island and live overseas, especially young people who are fleeing the island in big numbers to the United States, not just for economic opportunities but, with normalization of US-Cuban relations, in anticipation of an end of a U.S. policy that allows Cubans who make it to the United States to naturalize.
4. But a main cause for Cuba’s demographic free-fall is that Cubans wantonly are killing their unborn, at a rate of 30 abortions for every 1,000 women of childbearing age, the second highest rate in the world and almost double that of the USA. Only Russia’s abortion rate is higher.
Abortion in Cuba is legal, free and a common, widespread practice, viewed as just another method of birth control. There is no social stigma attached to abortion. Cubans speak openly about abortions, and lines at clinics often wrap around the building. Many women have had multiple abortions, some as many as 10.
The source of the above information is a New York Times article of Oct. 27, by Azam Ahmed, deceptively and nauseatingly titled “In Cuba, an Abundance of Love but a Lack of Babies.” Ahmed writes:
A magnetic energy courses between Claudia Rodriguez and Alejandro Padilla, binding the couple in clichés of intimacy: the tendency to finish each other’s sentences; hands that naturally gravitate toward one another; a shared laughter that forms the soundtrack of their romance.
What their love will not bear, for the moment, is a family. Though they plan to marry and have children, they will wait — until they are no longer sharing a small apartment with a half-dozen others, or perhaps until obtaining diapers and formula is no longer a gamble….
“‘You have to take into consideration the world we live in,’ said Ms. Rodriguez, 24, who says she has had two abortions to avoid having children too soon. Clutching Mr. Padilla’s hand, she said, ‘It would be so much harder with a child.’”
Another young woman, 27-year-old restaurant worker Claudia Aguilar San Juan, said, “I’ve had two abortions, one of them with Jorge” Padilla, her boyfriend of two years. “At the time, we didn’t think we were ready to have kids, and we continue to think that it’s still not the time.” Abortion is common in both of their families: their mothers have had four abortions each.
Back to the lovebirds Claudia Rodriguez and Alejandro Padilla.
The New York Times says:
Padilla, smirking, blurted out that Ms. Rodriguez’s aunt had undergone 10 procedures, prompting his partner to laugh.
‘Quiet,’ she whispered sharply, slapping his arm. ‘She has a degree in French and is inside right now.’”
MercatorNet’s Marcus Roberts rightly observes:
When the number of abortions that your aunt has had is a matter of mirth then you know that there is something seriously wrong with a society’s moral compass. Let us hope that Cuba’s view of family and the unborn changes for the better. Without such a change, the country faces a bleak future. But not quite as bleak as that faced by unborn Cuban children.