Cuban police want to force a political prisoner to have an abortion

Is abortion a choice or a political issue in Cuba? The current Cuban Penal Code assumes it as a crime when it is carried out without the consent of the mother

FEB 20, 2024

Lisdany Rodríguez is not going to have an abortion. It is the decision she made from her cell at the Guajamal women’s prison, and that her husband supports from his detention at the El Yabú men’s prison. If everything goes well, and the Cuban political police do not make Lisdany abort the fetus, in nine months a baby will be born who will not live with its parents. They will be serving their sentences for demonstrating against the government.

When the police took Lisdany into custody after the protests on July 11, 2021, her partner, Luis Ernesto Jiménez, had been in prison for a few months for running a black market business. A few days after their last conjugal visit, Lisdany felt a little discomfort in her body and stopped having her period. The first pregnancy test was positive. An ultrasound test confirmed that she was seven weeks and five days pregnant.


Right to abortion in Cuba under attack by counter-revolutionaries

October 2, 2023

In 1961, after the triumph of the revolution, Cuba became the first country in Latin America and the Caribbean to decriminalize abortion. But the right to abortion, as a historical victory of Cuban women, is under attack by the counter-revolution and its media, using the most outrageous lies.

In the 1950s, the practice of abortion in Cuba was similar to that of many countries in that region today: While for high society women it was performed safely and confidentially, poor women died. The number of maternal deaths from unsafe abortions was more than 60 per 100,000 births, something that, in a few years after the revolution, was reduced to almost zero.


Cuban Soap Opera Fuels Abortion Debate

Anti-abortion posts triggered by a fictional story on TV are stirring up controversy on social media, where opinions in favor of this right Cuban women possess dominate.

September 7, 2020
By IPS-Cuba

HAVANA TIMES – There is a heated debate about legal abortions going on in Cuba today, with hundreds of comments from activists, experts and citizens taking over social media, because of one of the storylines in Cuban soap opera “El rostro de los dias”.

As a result of the sexual abuse Lia (the teenage character in this show) suffers, controversy stirred on social media. Raped by her stepfather the question is whether the girl should keep the baby or not. Heated exchanges about legal abortion in Cuba have unfolded because of conservative posts about the issue.


Cuba – What Would the World Be Like if Men Had Periods?

What Would the World Be Like if Men Had Periods?

December 12, 2019
By Monica Baro Sanchez (El Toque)

HAVANA TIMES – If men had periods, at least the first day they came on would be declared a holiday. I don’t know about other women, but I hate working the first day of my period. Sometimes even the second day, too. I can even hate talking or just seeing people.

I have never known what it’s like to suffer so much pain in your ovaries that it has you curled up in bed, in a chair at school or at work, or bent over in the middle of the street, the kind that gives you nausea and makes you vomit, which calls for pills, injections, infusions and hot water bottles on your lower abdomen; but I do always feel bad every time I have a period. I’m on my period right now.


Black Voices of Feminism Make Headway in Latin America

Black Voices of Feminism Make Headway in Latin America

November 14, 2019
By Ivet Gonzalez (IPS)

HAVANA TIMES – Within the green scarves’ movement fighting for abortion rights and against femicide, Afro-descendant women in Latin America are raising their voices more and more every day, to underline the disadvantages and invisibility they suffer in society.

The growing capacity to get women’s movements to fight for abortion rights and against gender-based violence, reaffirms the mark that feminism has had on the region. However, diversity within this struggle, such as the fight of black and mixed-race women in a region with 133 million Afro-descendants, still lags behind.


Abortion in Latin America: Four women’s voices

Abortion in Latin America: Four women's voices

04 Sep 2018

MONTEVIDEO: To legalise or not to legalise, that is the question on the lips of many legislators in Latin America since Argentina opted not to decriminalize abortion following a senate vote.

It did at least open the way for greater debate on a subject viewed so differently across the region in which abortion is entirely legal in Cuba and Uruguay, but where women can even be jailed for a miscarriage in El Salvador.


Opinion: Many Cubans using abortion as birth control

Opinion: Many Cubans using abortion as birth control
Abortion can sometimes carry major health risks. The lack of availability of either condoms or contraceptive pills means that many Cuban women undergo several abortions in their lives, the blogger Yoani Sánchez writes.

Author Yoani Sánchez

She is only 20 years old but has already had four abortions. The young Cuban woman, who prefers to remain anonymous, is not an isolated case.

In some countries in Latin America, women can spend many years behind bars because they have had an abortion or even because they are suspected of having undergone the procedure. In countries such as Chile and Argentina, a debate about abortion is taking place on the streets and in public discourse. However, in Cuba discussion on the subject is taking place — if at all — on social networks and the websites of the independent press.


Latin America’s fight to legalise abortion: the key battlegrounds

Latin America's fight to legalise abortion: the key battlegrounds
After Argentina rejected a bill to allow abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, hopes of reform now rest elsewhere

Annie Kelly
Thu 9 Aug 2018

An estimated 6.5 million abortions take place across Latin America each year. Three-quarters of these procedures are unlawful, often performed in unsafe illegal clinics or at home.

Of 33 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean, only Cuba, Uruguay and Guyana permit elective abortions. Women also have the right to choose in Mexico City. Elsewhere, however, the right to an abortion is severely restricted, with terminations often permitted in cases of rape, or if the pregnancy will endanger the life of the mother. Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Suriname all have a complete ban on abortion.


USA – With Reproductive Rights in Great Jeopardy, ‘Plan C’ Is More Important Than Ever

With Reproductive Rights in Great Jeopardy, ‘Plan C’ Is More Important Than Ever
Plan C—making "missed period pills" widely available—would give users the power to decide whether or not they wished to test for or confirm pregnancy before taking pills to bring on their period.

Jul 6, 2018
Francine Coeytaux, Victoria Nichols & Elisa Wells

Four years ago, we argued for an important new family planning option. We envisioned a method that could be used at home when a period was late to induce menstruation and thus reassure individuals that they were not pregnant. Plan C, we posited, was not only possible—the technology already existed in the form of mifepristone and misoprostol—but could be the answer to the age-old question asked by women around the world, “What do I do if my period is late and I don’t want to be pregnant?” With the recent news of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s resignation and the rising concern about a likely shift in the balance of the U.S. Supreme Court, the need to ensure timely and affordable access to innovative reproductive health options like Plan C is even more urgent.


UN says Canadian funding for reproductive health agency critical after U.S. cuts

UN says Canadian funding for reproductive health agency critical after U.S. cuts

Michelle Zilio, OTTAWA
December 6, 2017

The head of the UN reproductive health and rights agency says Canada's financial support has been critical to the agency's work after President Donald Trump cut U.S. funding this year.

Natalia Kanem, executive director of the United Nations Population Fund, says the withdrawal of almost $70-million (U.S.) in American funding will put millions of women's lives at risk in the years to come. Dr. Kanem, who was in Ottawa on Wednesday to launch the agency's annual population report, said the Canadian government's renewal of $15.6-million (Canadian) in funding is "lifesaving" for vulnerable women and girls in some of the poorest regions of the world.

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