Dominican Republic abortion ban stops treatment for pregnant teen with cancer


In the Dominican Republic, a ban on abortion is preventing a teenage girl from receiving treatment for a life-threatening disease.

At the Semma Hospital in the captial city of Santo Domingo, a 16-year-old girl is dying of acute leukemia. Doctors say the girl, whose name is being withheld to protect her privacy, needs an aggressive chemotherapy treatment. But there’s one problem: the teenager is nine weeks pregnant and treatment would very likely terminate the pregnancy, a violation of Dominican anti-abortion laws.

Rosa Hernandez, the girl’s mother, is trying to convince doctors and the Dominican government to make an exception so that her daughter’s life can 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.

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.

Turkish women rally against plans to restrict access to abortion Miguel Montalvo, the director of the bioethics council that rules on the application of the law, says the council is leaning toward allowing the treatment. “At the end of the day the patient may decide for himself or herself. In this case, the family may decide what’s more convenient for the patient,” Montalvo said.

Women’s and human rights groups are outraged, saying the girl should have received chemotherapy immediately.

Written By: Rafael Romo
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  1. Hey its two for one day in the DR, we can’t allow an abortion so we’ll just do nothing about this young girls cancer and let them both die.  Sorry for the scarcasm, I do not find this funny in the slightest, its stupidity, no its worse than stupidity, it is grossly unjust and immoral.  Wow way to follow the commandments, thou shalt not murder, but its ok to just stand by and do nothing while this child mother dies an agonizing death?

  2. So basically, they’re going to murder the girl by failing to treat her, in order to avoid the “sin” of abortion against a 9-week embryo. Nice.

  3. Religion poisons everything. Stupid, primitive, moronic, contemptible, hateful, ignorant, misogynistic, mindless, crass, arrogant, dangerous, destructive, toxic, abominable, abhorrent, repugnant, vile, spiteful, malevolent, execerable, repugnant, loathsome, odious, foul, brainless,idiotic, puerile, witless, treacherous, wicked, nasty, mean, sleazy, inane, irresponsible, petty, coarse, uncivilised, barbaric, vulgar, savage, immoral … …

  4. So they’re honoring the ‘thou shalt not kill’ commandment by letting a young girl die slowly from this horrible disease, unbelievable.  I hope the officials in DR are patting themselves on the back with their bibles for a job well done as they’re fulfilling God’s ‘noble’ work (end heavy sarcasm).

  5. While I take the view that the Principle of Double Effect is often used by those inclined to self-serving, fingers-in-ears sophistry, I do admit that it has saved many people considerable pain.

    The fact that this is being ignored here demonstrates an extreme level of entrenchment.

  6. Calm down ladies and gentlemen: this is incorrect reporting and is out-of-date.  The girl’s chemotherapy started three days ago.

    Storm + teacup.

  7.  Do these idiots not realize that if the girls dies the embryo also dies?

    If the girl takes the chemotherapy and the embryo dies the girl spends eternity in hell.  And the embryo is still dead.  This is the problem with pretty much every religion. It ranks some imaginary world above the real one and people get hurt.


  8. Am I missing something here? The Bible makes it clear that the god to which it refers doesn’t regard foetuses as people, so where’s the Christian justification for this ban?

  9. SonofHades

    Am I missing something here? The Bible makes it clear that the god to which it refers doesn’t regard foetuses as people, so where’s the Christian justification for this ban?

    The RCC claims “ensoulment” happens at the moment of conception (fertilization) – so their “heaven” must be full little clumps of cells, blastocysts which failed to implant, and embryos which spontaneously aborted! –

    Their “technical explanations”, are more stupid than their impressed sheeples who swallow them!

  10.  “the right to life is inviolable from the moment of conception and until death.”

    Unless you’ve got cancer?

    How about they let the doctors save the girl’s life and leave god to look after the foetus?

  11. I have no problem with that, provided that civil law limits itself to punishing crimes and leaving sins to be settled in the otherworld…

    Anyway she is right; they life or her daughter comes first.

  12. Another one for my growing list of “crap countries”. 
    Shan’t be rooting for them in the Olympics.

  13. Actually I am reasonably familiar with embryology and the RCC’s position. What I don’t get is HOW the RCC derived such a ridiculous decision – and sticks to it – given that the bases for opposing it – Biblical, scientific and common-sense – are so very much firmer.

  14. Are they also making an effort to save the hundreds of billions of sperm that die every minute?

    It’s good to hear that the girl has started on her chemo. If the Dominican Republic didn’t allow it, would another country have given her asylum so she could get treatment there?

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