A Real Change
Based on new skills such as the use of social networks, the identification and training of agents of change (natural social leaders), as well as conflict management.
Camila Acosta | July 7, 2022
Yeleiny García was 17 years old when she had a curettage; He says that at that time he did not feel prepared to be a mother and did not think too much about it, it really was easy, the service accessible, no He had to explain. Today the young woman is 30 years old and regrets that decision because, since then, she has not been able to get pregnant again.
“I am attending the fertility consultation. The analysis of the hormones gave me good, now I’m checking my tubes; the doctor says that during curettage, which is a blind process, they may have been obstructed or damaged and that is why I do not get pregnant. It’s really hard for me and my partner, we have been together for seven years and we want to be parents. Not a day goes by that I don’t I regret having an abortion, I am terrified of not being able to fulfill my dream of being a mother”, she confessed.
According to data from the World Health Organization, 73 million abortions worldwide, and 29% of all pregnancies are terminated voluntarily.
Cuba, where the State reports that approximately 41.9% of pregnancies end in abortions, has one of the highest abortion rates in Latin America. In 2019, the national rate was officially 27 per 1,000 women ages 12 to 49, a lower number than it was in the early 1980s, but higher than it was in the early 1980s 2000. To get an idea: between 1980 and 2019, more than 4 million abortions (representing approximately 36% of the current population); in 2019 the total number of abortions (73,661) represented a rate of 39.8 per 100 pregnant women. Of course, all of this is reflected in demographics and an increasingly aging population.
In Cuba there are several contraceptive methods, such as injections or contraceptive tablets, the implant (subdermal contraceptive), condoms and intrauterine devices, but there are many cases in which health centers and pharmacies lack them, a problem which was substantially exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, according to National Fertility Survey conducted in 2009 by the National Office of Statistics and Information (ONEI), «the high prevalence of these events in Cuba has led specialists to affirm that Cubans are currently using these procedures as methods contraceptives, that is, as an alternative to not using —or using incorrectly— the different methods”.
Abortion in Cuba is «like pulling a tooth,» says researcher Gabriela López Díaz. Indeed, if a woman becomes pregnant and goes to the doctor, she does not even have to justify your decision, if you want to abort, only requires an ultrasound and, in some cases, also blood tests.
«Abortion or curettage in Cuba is easy, safe, comfortable and free, » Dr. Miguel Sosa, president of the Cuban Scientific Society for the Development of the Family (SOCUDEF).
There are several abortion methods. There is the “menstrual regulation”, practiced in the country since 1989; It is performed up to six weeks of gestation and consists of aspiration of the uterus, it does not require general anesthesia or blood transfusion and neither does it require the consent of the parents, in the case of those under 18 years of age.
Up to twelve weeks of gestation, an abortion can also be induced using tablets; specifically in Cuba Misoprostol is used. This abortion pill can be used sublingual, buccal, or vaginal and causes effects similar to labor contractions, as well as abdominal pain and vaginal bleeding for a few hours.
Although several pro-abortion institutions recommend the use of Misoprostol, in 2018 the same laboratory that manufactures it in Europe withdrew it from sale in France for putting life at risk of women by causing hemorrhages and intrauterine ruptures.
Both Misoprostol and Rivanol “can produce toxic encephalitis, that is, damage liver that ends in possibly irreversible brain damage due to their toxic potential ”, warns the Cuban gynecologist, Dr. Abel Arencibia.
Another technique used is curettage, which is performed under anesthesia and consists of scraping the inside of the uterus.
Generally «women are unaware of the risks of abortion for their physical and psychological health,» said the specialist in Family Medicine, Dr. Miguel Ángel Ruano.
“To say that it is safe to have an abortion is nonsense. There are a large number of risks, from the impossibility of having more children, even death due to uterine perforation, hemorrhages, infections and even the total or partial loss of the uterus, in addition to the barbarity of murdering to a human being with intrauterine life”, alleges the specialist. These complications could also cause cervical-uterine cancer.
For his part, Dr. Arencibia maintains that “the vaunted sex education is non-existent. The Abortion is a practice carried out institutionally and the entire social mechanism is aimed at facilitating it and not avoiding it”.
These consequences are usually more harmful in adolescents. In 2019, the weekly local Adelante, from the province of Camagüey, revealed that about 500 girls under 15 years of age they end up pregnant every year and 30% of the abortions performed in that territory are on adolescents.
“Of 1,596 interruptions, 435 were in adolescents exposed to irreversible damage when using abortion as a means of contraception. There are 102 abortions for every 100 births. It is no accident that the attention to the infertile couple grows,» Sigfrido Valdés, director of the «Ana Betancourt» Maternal and Child Hospital, told the local media.
Daymí Saavedra, obstetrician-gynecologist at the “Eduardo Agramonte Piña” Pediatric Hospital, of the same province, expressed that, «emotionally, these girls face a situation that exceeds their age, in addition to the anatomical and psychological immaturity typical of the stage.»
Regarding these psychological consequences, Dr. Ruano explains: “Patients who perform abortion as a contraceptive method —and several in a term not exceeding three years—, generally they do not have psychological consequences because they assume from the psychological point of view that this is one more contraceptive method, they do not measure the harmful consequences it has for the organs female breeders. Psychological sequelae are more common in those women who do
want the pregnancy, but for various health reasons they must terminate it or in those who, in the maturity of their lives, they understand what they have done and feel, for example, a sense of guilt, or in which, as a result of complications in the abortion process, they cannot have children. But Cuba suffers from these studies.”
In France, for example, 83% of women have expressed that abortion leaves traces psychologically difficult to deal with. Since 1975, more than 8 million people have been registered in that country. abortions. In France, the so-called “survivor syndrome” has also manifested itself, these traces on the siblings of those who were not born and a damaged relationship with the parents for this reason. The survivor syndrome is defined as: guilt for existing, anguish for exist, anxious attachment, mistrust of others, lack of self-esteem, ontological guilt, pseudo-secret collusion.
For women, the psychological consequences are often referred to as «post abortion syndrome», characterized by: anxiety, depression, tendency to suicide and guilt, among other traumas.
However, the NGO Human Rights Watch, through a publication titled “Victims by Double match. Obstructions to legal abortion for rape in Mexico”, he asserted that “the studies doctors show that abortions performed under proper medical conditions are ten times safer than pregnancy up to the sixteenth week of gestation, and that the risk of death from abortion is lower than the risk of death from childbirth over most of the second quarter».
Although Dr. Arencibia acknowledges this statement, he notes that it is still “ethically incorrect. Can the right to abortion (as a supposed human right) prevail over the right to life, which is a fundamental human right? On the other hand, when the abortion practice becomes a ‘production chain’, it happens as in all processes: quantity is attentive to quality, more so in an environment rarefied by material, training and ethical deficiencies, as is the case in Cuba”.
For abortion in Cuba, the so-called «Rivanol Method» is also used, classified as a «technique for late termination of pregnancy.»
“A tube is passed through the cervix until the tip reaches the fundus of the uterus; Rivanol ampulla is administered through the tube. In addition, it is administered intravenously. Oxytocin until satisfactory uterine contractions of labor are obtained. At 48 hours, if no aborted, the method is repeated. If after 48 hours it has no effect, Rivanol is considered failed and a micro-cesarean section is performed,» he explained Dr. Oscar Elías Biscet.
Dr. Biscet began practicing his profession in the 1990s at the “Hijas de Galicia” Maternity Hospital in Havana; was ever since a devout Christian and objected to abortion practices that kept infant mortality rates low by pressuring women with suspected problem pregnancies to abort, often moments before delivery.
at a press conference developed in 2016 in Madrid, Spain, Biscet denounced the use of Rivanol method: “In Cuba they carry out abortions secretly in the hospital, tricking the legality since abortion is allowed up to 12 weeks. But when you study the cases of these abortions you realize that the children were healthy and that the mothers had no problem”, assured the also human rights activist and coordinator of the ‘Proyecto Emily’.
He learned about it from “a doctor friend of mine who did ultrasounds” at the hospital, who “told me that he had been forced not to cure a child born after the Rivanol Method. I mean, they left it. die and hid the data. Why?would have risen mortality rateIt is what they wanted to hide by considering these cases as abortions.”
Dr. Biscet was able to corroborate his friend’s testimony by accessing the hospital file: “I did the research and studied about thirty cases with this type of abortion. In nine of cases, the children were born alive, so I looked up the address of these women to find out what had passed”.
Whenvisiting them, Biscet verified even more what was happening: “For example, in one of the cases, when the child was born, it was alive but the mother was told that it was not so and that the baby he was moving because of a neurological problem, but in reality he was dead. she told me it was traumatic. Later he learned that the child had been born alive and had been wrapped in a cartridge paper until it died. Another case is that of another woman who gave birth to the child alive and knew because he screamed. But the doctors and nurses persuaded her that he was not alive, telling her that she was very upset and that the cry was not from her child. They left the little one in a separate place, they cut the umbilical cord and left him to bleed to death. Another example is that of a woman who saw how her son moved, they also told her that he was dead and that this movement It was normal. But he saw how they put him in a bucket of water.”
With the documentary evidence and testimonies, in 1998 Dr. Biscet published a report in which he denounced the Cuban health system, which he delivered to the Attorney General’s Office of the Republic of Cuba and the Council of State. The authorities’ response was to strip him of his medical license, expel his wife from her job as a nurse, in addition to torturing him and sentencing him to three years in prison in 1999. He was classified as a political prisoner by Amnesty International.
“One of the tortures they did to me was putting me in a dark room for several days. By law has to give the prisoner the sun once a day. They never did this to me. I never let out to see the sun. Another thing they did was put me with mentally ill people and take away the drugs. They altered them so that they would attack me and, like that, many other things”, he said without being able hold back tears
For his human rights activism, Dr. Biscet would again be sentenced to prison in 2003 as part of what is known as the Black Spring of Cuba. In that occasion He was imprisoned for about seven years.
The first country to legalize abortion was the former Soviet Union (USSR) in 1920. South Korea North would do so in 1950. Other countries of the socialist bloc would join later: Hungary, in 1953, and in 1955 some fifteen nations such as: Armenia, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia and Ukraine. Around the 70s and 80s of the last century, several countries normalized the practice.
The fact that the first countries to legalize it were of a Marxist or socialist nature stands out. Does this have to do with the fact that this ideology defends, more than others, the «rights of women»?
The Argentine political scientist Agustín Lage analyzes this issue in his research «The black book of the new left. Gender ideology and cultural subversion”, published in 2016 with the co-authorship by Nicolas Marquez. In the text, Laje analyzes how the legalization of abortion is associated with what calls the «second wave of feminism» or «Marxist feminism», very different from a «first
wave», of a liberal nature, known as «suffrage», and rather characterized by the struggle of women’s rights through electoral and educational reforms.
“(…) but the Marxist can only solve the question according to a violent revolution that ends private property and the family as a social institution, because here is the germ of evil. (…) the realization of Marxist feminism is the destruction of the family and its replacement by the totalitarian state and by the party”, says the researcher.
Why? Because the family institution “supposes a safeguard for the individual and his closest relationships against the interference of the State. It is, therefore, a space with wide degrees of autonomy from the political sphere”, Laje maintains.
In fact, in his work entitled «The origin of the family, private property and the State», Friedrich Engels concludes: «The liberation of women requires, as a first condition, the reincorporation of the entire female sex into social industry, which in turn requires the abolition of the individual family as the economic unit of society. The strategy, Laje notes, consists of «hegemonizing female demands by the movements of the proletariat.»
This vision was assumed by the «third wave of feminism», manifested fundamentally between the 60s and 80s, and which has extended to the present day. Theorists of this feminist current, such as Simone de Beauvoir, Kate Millet, Zillah Eisenstein and Shulamith Firestone, explicitly raised the «need» to abolish the family and heterosexuality. Beauvoir, the most important feminist philosopher of the 20th century, was an open detractor of motherhood,
considering it a form of female oppression; That is why she had several abortions and never had children.
Firestone understood that the root of women’s problems was their reproductive function; for what comes to propose a kind of program for the feminist revolution composed of four points, the first was «to abolish the reproductive function of women in accordance with the technologies of artificial reproduction and the legalization of abortion.» In the other three points, he suggests adopting the socialist system, destroying “the cultural distinctions between men/women and adults/children” and achieving “the freedom of all women and children to do whatever they want sexually”.
It is no coincidence that in feminist demonstrations, all pro-abortion, socialist symbols such as the hammer and sickle currently appear; in fact, many feminist organizations openly declare their adherence to socialist ideology.
Returning to the Soviet case, Laje underlines the social consequences brought about by the legalization of abortion, ranging from demographics to the manifestation of a «destroyed family institution.»
According to data provided by Soviet doctors surnamed Stern, father and son —whose revelations cost them jail— from 1922 to 1926 the number of abortions in the USSR quadrupled and by 1934 “a birth was registered in Moscow for every three abortions and in the countryside, the same year, three abortions for every two births”. By 1963, in Moscow, Leningrad and other central cities, 80% of pregnant women had abortions, which shows that it was used as a contraceptive method.
The aforementioned doctors also recounted that “after a certain number of abortions, [for women] a very widespread formula is enough: drink a glass of vodka, take a very hot bath and start jumping until expelling the fetus. I had to take care of a woman who had
twenty-two miscarriages. In these women, repeated abortions weaken the muscles of the uterus that are at risk of losing the fetus just by walking.”
In the end, did abortion contribute to the liberation of Soviet women? On the contrary, «the ‘head of the family’ was nothing more than a caricature of the Soviet macho and the wife, who pretended to be a brave socialist heroine in the regime’s story, was nothing more than a defenseless woman who had to tolerate the insults and beatings of her husband”, adds Laje. Sexual violations of women were even common even within families and the cases were hidden by the feminist media and institutions.
Currently, abortion is permitted in 69 countries. In some there are certain restrictions, for example, they are only carried out to save the life of the woman or in cases of rape; in others it is allowed without cause restrictions. Some of the countries in the region where it is totally prohibited are El Salvador, Honduras, the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua.
In Cuba, abortion was legalized in 1936, but only in cases of rape or if the pregnancy caused health problems for the pregnant woman. It is not until 1961 that it is decriminalized —it is not legalized because there is no law in this regard— and, four years later, it begins to be developed as part of the National Health System, that is, in hospitals and free of charge. In this way, Cuba became the first country in the American continent to decriminalize abortion, even ahead of the United States, where legalization occurred in 1973.
It stands out that in Cuba, unlike other countries, this was a decision promoted from the government, not from civil society. In Cuba, its approval was not given due to intense feminist struggles, as has happened in Argentina, for example, where abortion was legalized in December 2020. The decriminalization of abortion in Cuba responded, according to the authorities, to the recognition of a “right and to «reduce maternal deaths». However, for this investigation it was not possible to access any study that revealed that, by 1961, maternal deaths from clandestine abortions constituted a serious health problem in Cuba.
Speaking to the BBC, psychologist Mayra Rodríguez, deputy director of the National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX), stated that abortion is “a social achievement that cannot be lost. (…) After the Revolution, women had the opportunity to integrate socially and to have full professional development. Therefore, she decides when to have a child.”
It is then worth asking the same question: did abortion contribute to the liberation of Cuban women? Although there are few studies on the matter and the figures are manipulated by the regime, in recent years feminist civil society organizations such as the Cuban Women’s Network (RFC) have been registering and warning about the high rate of murders and rapes, as well as as well as violations of women’s right to political participation.
Only between January 2020 and May 2022, victims of what feminist organizations call «gender violence», seventy Cuban women, according to RFC records. «Not a single official statement of condolences or support for the families who suffer,» says the organization. To have a comparative element, in Spain, for example, with a population of approximately 47 and a half million inhabitants, that is, more than four times the Cuban population, in the same period 114 cases of murdered women for «gender violence», barely forty-four more than in Cuba.
Elena Larrinaga de Luis, President of the RFC, stated: “In Cuba there is a fusion between personaland institutional violence. It is a problem with serious consequences that is being silently installing itself in society, in numerous families and leaving terrible consequences. It is
the most inhuman expression of the exercise of power, of the man over the woman, of the adult over boys and girls and, in general, of the strong over the weak. It is a flagrant violation of the rights of those who suffer. Negative prejudices and stereotypes act and are reproduced by laws and institutions, constitute a trigger for personal violence. (…) This is the great problem of Cuba, the government is executor and accomplice of violence against women”.
In the abortion debate there are pros and cons. Although the analysis of the Cuban case is different, it is pertinent to address part of the debate that has occurred mainly in recent years with abortion in the region, an important element of feminist agendas and that has led to its recent legalization in countries such as Uruguay and Argentina.
For example, the campaign of abortionists in Argentina, where abortion was legalized in 2020, argued that in that nation thousands of women died each year due to clandestine abortions. Dr. Chinda Brandolino, clinical physician and director of the NGO Pro Familia y Acción, dismantled this myth by citing sources from the Ministry of Health of the Republic: in 2016 they died 171,408 women, of which only 245 were maternal deaths and, within these, only 31 were from induced abortion, accounting for less than 0.01% of female causes of death.
It wasn’t even the leading cause of maternal death.
The Chilean case also shows that, without legalizing abortion, maternal mortality was substantially reduced. According to data from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Chile, in 2008, said nation ranked first in Latin America and second in the American continent, after Canada, with the lowest rate of maternal mortality, surpassing even To united states.
Another argument used by the defenders of abortion is that, with legalization, the number of abortions decreases. However, the figures say the opposite. Spain legalized abortion in 1986 and during the first year 16,206 abortions were performed; by 2020, the figure rose to 88,269 abortions, and just under 400,000 births per year, which means that approximately 25% of pregnancies ended in abortion.
In France, a study published in 2018 reveals that one in five people is aborted: 800,000 births and 210,000 abortions per year. Abortions in minors in France also increased by 25%, from 9,920 to 13,330 per year. In the United States, Canada and Uruguay, for example, after their legalization, the number of abortions also increased.
In Cuba, the trend of increasing abortions has also manifested.
The debates have also focused on when human life begins, so that it can be decided up to what week of gestation an abortion can be performed without it constituting fetal murder. Although some feminists defend abortion without limits, that is, that it can be practiced at any time during pregnancy.
The North American magazine MedlinePlus, belonging to the National Library of Medicine of the United States, affirms that during the first two weeks of pregnancy, the woman «is not yet pregnant» but her body is preparing for the baby, which already, By itself, it sounds quite contradictory.
Jerome Lejeune, considered by some in the scientific community to be the greatest geneticist of the 20th century, was summoned by the Congress of the United States of America on April 23, 1981 to speak on the beginning of human life. On this occasion pointed outlonger
a matter of taste or opinion. It is not a metaphysical hypothesis, but an experimental evidence.
In a public statement issued on September 23, 1995, the National Academy of Medicine of Argentina stated: “The start of the process of a human life begins with the penetration of the egg by the sperm (fertilization). The new resulting cell (zygote) contains its own chromosomal heritage, where its future is biologically programmed; and, this scientific fact, with experimental demonstration, is so both outside and inside the maternal organism”.
Therefore, it is biologically proven that the unborn is a human being, with its own DNA, unique and unrepeatable, different from that of its parents, and that, in this way, it initiates a process of human development.
Those who support abortion also base their defense on the fact that its criminalization is a form of discrimination against women because they have the right to decide about their bodies, which is why they have popularized the slogan «my body, my decision.»
«Of course they have decision-making power over their body», the problem is that the unborn baby «is not part of their body», precisely because it is a different human being, he maintains Dr. Chinda Brandolino, one of the main voices against abortion in Argentina. The woman «has the right to decide on her body, but not on the body of someone else,» she added.
The professor and researcher for the Fundación Libre, Mamela Fiallo Flor: “From a biological perspective, the human body has a heart; the human heart beats between day 16 and 21 while the menstrual cycle has 28 days; (…) when a woman detects pregnancy, a heart already beats with its own pulse inside your body. If one ends the beating of a foreign body, is killing it and it is not your body, but another”.
The professor also believes that, in cases of rape, abortion is not justified either: “you are condemning an innocent person to death for the crime of a criminal; (…) instead of using medicine to save lives, we are using medicine to annihilate”.
Fiallo Flor cited research carried out by Stanford University “which suggests that 93% of women who aborted after rape regretted it because they went from being the victim to the aggressor; (…) let us take into consideration that the practice takes place in the same area of the abuse, so adding violence to an already violent area does not solve the problem”.
Inaddition, the body of the unborn child is protected by international agreements such as the American Convention on Human Rights, known as the Pact of San José, signed in San José, Costa Rica, in November 1969, and which, in its article 4 , establishes the right to life: “Every person has the right to have his life respected. This right will be protected by law and, in general, from the moment of conception. No one can be deprived of life arbitrarily».
Countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua and Venezuela signed it. Not so Cuba. However, several of the countries that signed the Pact later legalized abortion, such as Argentina and Uruguay. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights also upholds the right to life.
Similarly, the Hippocratic Oath puts the service of doctors at the disposal of life, not death. One of the points of this oath, drafted and adjusted in 1948 in the Geneva Convention, says: «I will have absolute respect for human life.» The text that served
was the one written by Hippocrates, a prestigious doctor from Ancient Greece; in one of its points it said: “I will never give anyone a deadly medicine, no matter how much they ask me, nor will I take any initiative of this kind; Nor will I administer an abortifacient to any woman. On the contrary, I will live and practice my art in a holy and pure way.”
Another recurring argument is that abortion helps poor sectors. «Many of the adolescents or women who abort do so because they do not have the economic conditions to have the baby, for example, they do not have their own home, work or family help that allows them to support themselves and the child,» explained Dr. Miguel Angel Ruano.
However, pro-life activists such as Agustín Laje, one of the strongest pro-life voices in the region, maintain that «what the poor want is to be lifted out of poverty, an abortion does not help them do that.»
In Mamela Fiallo’s opinion, alternatives should be sought that do not end the life of an innocent: «We must encourage adoption from gestation»; It also emphasizes the role that many times the state has by hindering solutions that could prevent abortion in most cases. “The biggest cause of abortions is due to economic situations, because they cannot support that child. We must stop hindering, lower the cost of living, help from the gestation and from the adoption and improve living standards of policies in service of the family”.
A space to change lives.
This project aims to achieve the empowerment of civil society organizations to guarantee their full participation and assume responsibilities in the spaces that guide the local development process. and the construction of full citizenship.
Based on new skills such as the use of social networks, the identification and training of agents of change (natural social leaders), as well as conflict management.
The work is aimed at transforming the practices of understanding and application of democratic rules and citizen participation in the communities.
Our fundamental mission is Education, convinced that only through education can we promote the development of the people we are targeting and generate new opportunities. Our work revolves around the objective of change for the transformation of Latin America into a democratic, modern and green region, as well as ensuring respect for Human Rights.