Life Issues in the Americas
Spotlight on Cuba
By Rai Rojas
Fidel Castro's dictatorial grip on this island nation has done more than the widely reported devastation of the economy and demoralization of the people. According to the Communist Cuban government's own numbers, an extraordinarily high six out of 10 (60.2%) pregnancies in Cuba end in abortion, the largest number of any nation in this hemisphere.
The law in Cuba not only allows abortions for any reason, but abortions are also paid for by the state. The pro-life movement in Cuba continues to struggle as reports that many of its leaders are jailed, beaten, and expelled come out of Cuba. One of these leaders is Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet.
Dr. Biscet was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1961. In 1985 Dr. Biscet received his degree as a specialist in internal medicine, and by 1987 he was practicing and teaching obstetrics at the Hijas de Galicia hospital in Havana.
In the early 1990s the drug Rivanol was being used to provide young Cuban women with chemically induced abortions. Dr. Biscet began researching and compiling evidence as to how this strong abortifacient was being used to destroy children. He also documented many accounts of children being killed after surviving this type of abortion.
He discovered that Rivanol is made in Germany. It is an acridine derivative and it appears to be an antimicrobial dye. It is classified as an antiseptic. But just as sodium chloride is classified as an electrolyte replacement, it can also be used as an abortifacient.
The generic name for Rivanol is ethacidrine lactate. Trade names include Emcredil, Acrinol, and Rival. This substance is not available in the United States.
Used for abortion in the first and second trimesters, Rivanol is injected into the amniotic sac. Studies showed that it produced an abortion in 98.8% of cases within 48 hours. The countries where these studies were conducted were India and Vietnam.
Subsequent to Dr. Biscet's research he wrote a paper titled " Rivanol: A Method to Destroy Life." It was made public in April 1998. On June 9 of that same year Dr. Biscet denounced the Cuban National Health System as being a party to genocide.
Shortly thereafter Dr. Biscet was officially expelled from the Cuban National Health System and has since been unable to perform as a physician in his own country. In February 1999 Dr. Biscet staged a peaceful pro-life protest in front of an abortion facility notorious for providing Rivanol abortions. He and another pro-life doctor were savagely beaten by a mob.
On November 3, 1999, Dr. Biscet was arrested, tried, and sentenced to three years in jail. But Dr. Biscet is not alone.
In May 2000, the Cuban government expelled Fr. Miguel Jorda for opposing abortion. Father Jorda's biggest crime, according to the Cuban government, was to have distributed pro-life literature all over his parish defending life and denouncing the present situation in Cuba.
In a story from the Zenit News Agency, Fr. Jorda said, "The members of the National Health Service itself go to the schools and encourage girls to undergo abortions without further ado, without telling them about the trauma it causes, without discussing the moral and ethical point of view. Presenting it [abortion] as if it were the
normal way."The pro-life movement in Cuba still seeks to establish itself further. Shortly before his arrest, Dr. Biscet established the Lawton Foundation, which helps spread the pro-life message.
Dr. Biscet's family's greatest fear is that he will become one of the "disappeared," never to been seen again. His family and the Lawton Foundation encourage all pro-lifers and people of conscience to write to the Cuban Mission to the United Nations on his behalf.
The number for the Cuban Mission to the United Nations is (202) 687-0511.
Rai Rojas is Hispanic Coordinator for NRLC and an at-large member of the NRLC board of directors.