Pregnant Teen Dies After Abortion Ban Delays Treatment


A pregnant 16-year-old in the Dominican Republic has died after being unable to receive chemotherapy due to an abortion ban. Doctors refused treatment for the teen’s leukaemia as the treatment could end the pregnancy, placing the life saving treatment in violation of the Domincan Constitution, which bans abortion.

The doctors talked for several days fearing imprisonment and the loss of their medical licenses if administering the life saving treatment resulted in the death of the baby. At the time of her death, the girl, whose name has not been released, was 13 weeks pregnant and was admitted to hospital with aggressive cancer while still in the first trimester of her pregnancy.

The teen passed away after miscarrying on Friday. Rosa Hernandez, her mother, has said:

“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. “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.”

This story, to me, epitomises why abortion should be legal and it should be safe. Maybe this girl’s life couldn’t have been saved through chemotherapy. But maybe it could. We will never know now, and that breaks my heart.

It is never as simple as saying life is sacred, abortion is murder. It is never as simple as it seems. We can not have a blanket ban over something like abortion. My mother was a midwife back when abortion was illegal in Australia. She saw women die, many, many women die, because of that ban. Women whose lives were at risk due to their pregnancy. Women who had gone to a “backyard” clinic to have the procedure done.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Abortion must be legal, and it must be safe.


What do you think? Should abortion be legal? Has this story impacted your opinion?


  • Mandi Aylmore

    Congratulations Doctors! Not only did the baby you fight to protect died, but so did the mother. Blood guilty times 2.

    I’m not a fan of abortion. I probably wouldn’t do it myself. However, it is not up to politics to decide whether abortion is illegal. I don’t think it should be illegal. The horror stories we’ve probably read dozens of times where people take matters into their own hands with disastrous consequences.

    Was is ridiculous about this story is that this girl was at a place that was supposed to save her life but because of a stupid law, she didn’t even get the chance.

    • Tamsin Howse

      It’s not the doctors’ faults, but apart from that I agree. Whether or not we are fans of abortion, or would do it, is beside the point. It needs to be legal.

  • Dionne

    Read your post & thought youd be interested in this…..
    ….Missouri GOP Congressman, Senate hopeful and All Round Science Whiz Todd Akin says rape victims don’t need access to abortion, which anyway he opposes, because, “From what I understand from doctors…if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Yes. Really. He said that. He also said that even if “that didn’t work or something,” there should be punishment for the rapist, “not attacking the child.” He later backtracked slightly, saying he “misspoke,” has “deep empathy” for the tens of thousands of women raped each year, and believes his responsibility is to “protect the most vulnerable in our society,” including “the unborn.” This man, who also opposes the school-lunch program, is running for national office. At last count, he was said to be leading against his opponent Sen. Claire McCaskill. We can’t decide what’s worse:  the level of ignorance; the fact that someone exhibiting this level of ignorance, and a willingness to deny a basic right and choice to half the race on the basis of it, is part of our national political landscape; or the fact that he’s leading. So many things to freak out about, so little time.

    • Tamsin Howse

      Wow… That is all levels of wrong.

  • Valentina B

    I think it’s terrible that people are blaming the doctors. We need to remember that the Dominican Republic is not Australia and they may take abortion alot more seriously in terms of punishment than we do. The doctors aren’t the ones who are making the laws and they are bound by legalities and ethics that must be hard to reconcile when they could potentially be imprisoned and lose their licence to practice.

    I think it’s horrendous that this poor girl was refused treatment and therefore died, and it goes to show that the law has rights over a woman’ body and that she does not.

    • Tamsin Howse

      They were stuck between a rock and a hard place – risk imprisonment or the revocation of their licences to practise medicine to save a life at the cost of one, or follow the law and lose two. Add to that having a mother begging you to save her child’s life… Not a situation anyone should ever be in.

      It is the law that is wrong here.

  • John Booker

    RIP and felt bad for the lady.