Havana, Cuba -- Cuban President Fidel Castro has condemned the use of abortion as a form of birth control.
His attack on abortion follows Pope John Paul first visit to Cuba last month during which he criticised promiscuity and "easy recourse to abortion". Free abortion is widely and easily available in Cuba's public health system and the country is reported to have one of the highest abortion rates in the world.
"Abortion should not be used as an anti-birth method," said the president, adding abortion could pose a health hazard. He said it was his duty as a "revolutionary and public figure" to oppose this.
He delivered the speech after being re-elected for another five-year term alongside six vice-presidents, including his brother, Raul Castro, who is expected to succeed him. All of them were elected unanimously by the 595 deputies of the National Assembly.