Pregnant teen dies after abortion ban delays her chemo treatment for leukemia
From Rafael Romo, Senior Latin American Affairs Editor
August 18, 2012 — Updated 0520 GMT (1320 HKT)
- The pregnant teen dies after doctors delay her chemotherapy
- Doctors say the treatment would violate the country’s abortion ban
- She finally started treatment after a 20-day delay
- “They have killed me, I’m dead, dead. I’m nothing,” her mother says
(CNN) — The mother of a pregnant leukemia patient who died after her chemotherapy was delayed over anti- abortion laws is accusing doctors of not putting her daughter’s health first.
The 16-year-old’s plight attracted worldwide attention after she had to wait for chemotherapy because of an abortion ban in the Dominican Republic.
Doctors were hesitant to give her chemotherapy because such treatment could terminate the pregnancy — a violation of the Dominican Constitution, which bans abortion. Some 20 days after she was admitted to the hospital, she finally started receiving treatment.
She died Friday, a hospital official said.
At the time the treatment started, Rosa Hernandez, the girl’s mother, said she tried to convince doctors and the Dominican government to make an exception so that her daughter’s life could be saved.
“My daughter’s life is first. I know that (abortion) is a sin and that it goes against the law … but my daughter’s health is first,” Hernandez said.
The teen died from complications of the disease, said Dr. Antonio Cabrera, the legal representative for the hospital.
“They have killed me, I’m dead, dead. I’m nothing,” her mother said. ” She was the reason for my existence. I no longer live. Rosa has died. Let the world know that Rosa is dead.”
Rosa Hernandez, the girl’s mother: “I know that (abortion) is a sin … but my daughter’s health is first.”
The patient was 13 weeks pregnant.
Her body rejected a blood transfusion and did not respond to the chemotherapy, and her condition worsened overnight, Cabrera said.
She then suffered a miscarriage early Friday, followed by cardiac arrest, and doctors were unable to revive her.
Representatives from the Dominican Ministry of Health, the Dominican Medical College, the hospital and the girl’s family had talked for several days before deciding to go forward with the chemotherapy.
Fights over abortion rights
The case sparked renewed debate over abortion in the Dominican Republic, with some lawmakers calling on officials to reconsider the abortion ban.
According to Article 37 of the Dominican Constitution, “the right to life is inviolable from the moment of conception and until death.” Dominican courts have interpreted this as a strict mandate against abortion. Article 37, passed in 2009, also abolished the death penalty.
Part of complete coverage on
August 17, 2012 — Updated 0623 GMT (1423 HKT)
Asia is set to have the world’s wealthiest residents, with city-state Singapore heading the rich list.
August 16, 2012 — Updated 1334 GMT (2134 HKT)
Gu’s one-day trial was a spectacle for the benefit of the public, says Donald Clarke.
August 17, 2012 — Updated 1525 GMT (2325 HKT)
Take a look at the 10 best entries for the New Scientist Eureka Prize for Science Photography.
August 17, 2012 — Updated 1711 GMT (0111 HKT)
The cause of transparency is bigger than the legal troubles of one brilliant, flawed individual, says Micah Sifry.
August 16, 2012 — Updated 1205 GMT (2005 HKT)
CNN’s Ben Wedeman was in Aleppo as the Syrian regime attacked a rebel-controlled hospital from the air.
August 16, 2012 — Updated 1128 GMT (1928 HKT)
Microsoft’s popular Kinect for Xbox 360 has inspired countless ingenious “hacks” to create novel devices.
August 16, 2012 — Updated 0413 GMT (1213 HKT)
According to a report released by the Enough Project, an advocacy group, metals from the Congo are getting less bloody.
August 16, 2012 — Updated 0801 GMT (1601 HKT)
42 nations around the world require graphic warning labels on cigarettes — see some of them here.
August 13, 2012 — Updated 1554 GMT (2354 HKT)
The new President of Egypt is taking the concept of getting work done in the first 100 days in office very seriously, says CNN’s John Defterios.
August 13, 2012 — Updated 2124 GMT (0524 HKT)
With extreme heat and the worst drought in half a century there are important lessons to be learned for all of us, says Michael Roberts.
Today’s five most popular stories
Originally posted here: