Want to know a good way to get yourself expelled from your life’s work and jailed in Cuba?
Dr. Oscar Elías Biscet, who is an Afro-Cuban physician and human rights activist in Cuba, is living proof. He, and a few others, went out in public and held up a piece of cardboard which read: “Aborto Asesinato de Niños” (“Abortion, Murder of Children”). The group also wore t-shirts that read, “Aborto crimen contra la humanidad” (“Abortion, crime against humanity”).
These were punishable “offenses” against the Castro regime.
Biscet, who created the Lawton Foundation for Human Rights, daringly conducted a 10-month undercover study into abortion methods and statistics under the Communist regime. He exposed widespread horrors in Cuba such as the use of the deadly drug Rivanol to abort late-term babies, and the atrocities of suffocating newborns immediately upon their birth, or severing their umbilical cords and letting them bleed to death.
In response, the Communist kicked Biscet out of medicine and did the same to his wife, Elsa Morejón, a nurse. They took the Biscet’s house away and labeled him guilty of “dangerousness.”
Biscet was arrested 26 times between 1998-1999, which includes on Nov. 3, 1999, when the Communists charged him with “public disorder” and other “crimes.” His fate was sealed before his trial, with Fidel Castro personally denouncing him as a “counter-revolutionary.” He served three years under brutal conditions.
Upon release in 2003, Biscet was re-arrested 37 days later and sentenced to 25 years in prison for “counter-revolutionary acts” against the dictatorship.
In Havana’s dreaded Combinado del Este maximum security prison and other Castro prison hell-holes, Biscet endured beatings, torture and unspeakable maltreatment such as being put in a cell crowded with violent and insane prisoners and later in solitary in a darkened, stifling, phone-booth-sized, vermin-infested cell; being given starvation rations and undrinkable water; and being generally denied the Bible, family and clergy visits, exercise and medical and dental care.
Biscet has reportedly been detained and beaten as recently as last month.
The Castro regime released Biscet on March 11, 2011, along with more than 50 others in a Church-sponsored agreement. Most of those released were sent to exile in Spain, but Biscet refused and said he must stay in Cuba to fight for freedom. He and his wife Elsa determinedly continue that noble struggle today. Biscet has reportedly been detained and beaten as recently as last month.
While many might dismiss Biscet’s forced exile from medicine as only possible under Castro’s dictatorship, we are now seeing parallels in the Untied States.
Troublingly, being pro-life in the U.S. can carry career penalties, too. Pro-life applicants to medical school often get screened out. Anti-lifers are insisting that aborting babies is somehow “health care,” so pro-life medical personnel should have to leave the field of medicine.
In a recent example of persecution of pro-lifers—Illinois pediatric nurse Sandra Mendoza is suing the Winnebago County Health Department. She says, after 18 years of service, it ordered her to take part in training for referring for abortions and for providing abortifacients such as Plan B, or be demoted. Mendoza refused and was fired. Mendoza says, “Nursing is more than just a job, it is a noble calling to protect life and do no harm. There is something terribly wrong when you are forced out of your job on account of your commitment to protect life.”
Unfortunately it’s not hard to imagine Biscet uttering these same stirring words in Communist Cuba.
On Nov. 5, 2007, President George W. Bush awarded the imprisoned Biscet the Presidential Medal of Freedom in absentia.
Biscet’s children accepted the award for him. Later, still a captive, Biscet wrote out a 40-line poem on a handkerchief, “Libertad Iluminando al Mundo” (“Liberty Enlightening the World”), and illustrated it with a drawing of the Statue of Liberty raising her torch aloft and holding a plaque that reads, “God Bless USA.”
It was smuggled out of prison and out of Cuba and eventually presented to President Bush in the White House in Jan. 2009.
May the liberty so dear to Dr. Oscar Elías Biscet and Elsa Morejón be theirs and all Cubans’ one day soon. And may our threatened liberty of conscience here in the United States be rescued and restored as well.