Women’s Rights: Cuba vs the US

By Val Reynoso

The changes Cuba experienced in its transition from the Batista regime to the Castro administration, as well as the changes in abortion legislation the US experienced from the 18th and 19th centuries to the late 20th century, demonstrates that Cuba was making drastic improvements in the conditions of Cuban women.

While the Cuban government made tremendous strides in forging women’s rights, the accessibility of abortion declined for women in the US during the same period. The radicalization of the Cuban government implemented by Fidel Castro set the foundation for the drastic modification of women’s rights that would occur in the island throughout the latter half of the 20th century and 21st century.

The FMC led by Vilma Espin was crucial to the development of universalized healthcare and inclusions of free abortions and other reproductive health services that overwhelmingly affect Cuban women. Contrarily, the Hyde Amendment, malleability of the Roe v Wade case, and constant pressure from a male-driven, conservative crusade have proven that the profits of US medical industries and artificial morals of fundamental Christianity are paramount to the reproductive rights of women in the US, especially given how expensive abortions are and that Medicaid cannot be used to pay for it in a majority of cases.

The capitalist system which dominates American life is a system driven by infinite profit extracted from the finite resources of the planet and exploitation of the labor of the working class.

This exploitation is deepened when members of this working class are part of other marginalized groups as well, such as women, non-white people, and disabled people; all of which make up the overwhelming number of patients struggling to obtain legal abortions in the US. Many of these women have the misfortune of resorting to dangerous alternatives out of need.

In comparison, the socialist system Cuba operates under has clearly succeeded in ensuring that Cubans of any racial or socioeconomic background have access to high quality, universalized healthcare and abortions without barriers of any kind.

Val Reynoso is a Politics and Human Rights undergrad, journalist and Marxist-Leninist activist.

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