A pregnant 16-year-old with leukemia was at the center of a debate over abortion in the Dominican Republic, as doctors feared repercussions of administering chemotherapy that may kill her fetus. Fortunately, hospital officials told CNN the anonymous teen began receiving chemotherapy last Tuesday after conversations between her parents, the hospital, and presumably government officials. There were initial concerns that doctors at Semma Hospital in Santo Domingo would withhold the treatment because she is 10 weeks pregnant and the DR has a strict ban on abortion, claiming life begins at the moment of conception.
However, a spokesperson for a doctor’s legal group quoted by CNN said the young woman is a “special case” for them: “She’s a minor, she suffers from leukemia and is 10 weeks pregnant. All three factors were considered in making the decision to proceed with the chemotherapy treatment.”
The other good news is that the teen’s ordeal has reinvigorated the debate over a woman’s right to choose in the DR. According to Global Post, wealthier women are able to terminate pregnancies if they visit a private doctor but the procedure is not available for poorer women.