If Cuba is to emerge into a vital and productive nation, it must first begin to encourage families. That's the advice of one of the leading experts on the international pro-life movement.
Dr. Joseph Meaney, a spokesman for Human Life International, is well versed on Cuba's problems. He explains that the communist nation's low fertility rate, just 1.7 births per woman, means not enough children are being born to replace an aging population or provide citizens for the labor market.
"They have a situation there where there are very few young people," he tells OneNewsNow. "And the elderly are really becoming the dominant portion of the population."
He says in addition to the low fertility rate, many young people are leaving the country – making the situation more dramatic because Cuba also has a terrible economy.
Thus, many couples avoid having children because they fear they will be unable to provide for them. Others are reluctant to bring children into the world because of the political, social, and religious persecution.
"The government promotes abortion rampantly," Meaney says, "so many of the children are just not born. There's an enormous abortion rate."
According to 2010 date compiled by the United Nations, there were nearly 30 abortions for every 1,000 Cuban women of childbearing age.
Meaney notes that a Cuban citizen can get more prison time for killing a cow than a human being. In addition, Cuba spends a good deal of money providing luxury accommodations for Communist elite and building upscale hotels to attract tourists.