Lifestyle & Belief

Pregnant Dominican teen suffering from leukemia has died


A woman passes by the monument that commemorates the place where Dominican dictator (1930-61) Rafael Leonidas Trujillo was executed on May 30, 1961, in Santo Domingo, on May 30, 2012.



A pregnant Dominican teen, who was diagnosed with leukemia and became the center of the battle over abortion rights, has died.

The 16-year-old girl, whose name was not released because she is a minor and in light of Semma Hospital's privacy policy, was 13 weeks pregnant, CNN reported

She was initially refused chemotherapy treatment by her doctors because it would have killed her fetus, a violation of the Dominican Republic's ban on abortion. 

The girl became the focus of a global political debate over abortion laws and their limits when she was just nine weeks pregnant, Medical Daily reported.

She was, as the site reported, "caught in between a rock and a hard place: if she started chemotherapy, the radiation would certainly kill the fetus. If she did not start chemotherapy, she would die." 

However, the Dominican's laws on aborting fetuses are incredibly strict: the Constitution's Article 37 states that "the right to life is inviolable from the moment of conception and until death," according to Jezebel

The teen was admitted to the hospital in July, where she waited 20 days to begin chemotherapy, CNN reported. She was unresponsive to the treatment as well as to a blood transfusion given to her on Thursday. 

She miscarried, and then went into cardiac arrest, and doctors were unable to revive her. 

"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," said the girl's mother Rosa Hernandez, who had been battling the Dominican government to make an exception to the abortion law for her daughter, CNN reported. 

More from GlobalPost: Abortion debate heats up in Dominican Republic as pregnant teenager lies dying of cancer