Pregnant teen dies after abortion ban delays her chemo treatment for leukemia
updated 11:11 AM EDT, Sat August 18, 2012
- 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.
Fights over abortion rights
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."
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.
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
updated 10:26 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
updated 7:09 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
updated 1:01 PM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
updated 10:48 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
updated 12:07 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
updated 7:15 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
updated 7:06 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
updated 7:37 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
updated 2:18 AM EST, Fri February 8, 2013
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.