By MIAMI HERALD STAFF
HAVANA - Regla, a 38-year-old security guard, is precisely the type of married woman the Cuban government is worried about: She had a baby 17 years ago and called it quits.
Money is tight and so is housing, so she had an abortion each of the four more times she got pregnant. Her teen daughter terminated a pregnancy last year, too.
''With this economic situation, who can have more children?'' Regla said. ``We're in the special period that never ends. Abortions are free and have no stigma attached. Everybody does it. Everybody.''
Regla's attitude is not unusual. In a nation faced with chronic shortages of everything from housing to food, more and more women are choosing to have just one child -- or none at all. A country with one of the hemisphere's highest life expectancy rates and lowest birthrates finds itself with a dwindling population -- one that in just 13 years will see the number of retired people outnumber the labor force.