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Teen with Cancer Denied Chemotherapy Because of Her Pregnancy

In Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, a ban on abortion is preventing a 16-year-old girl from receiving treatment for leukemia.

The girl, whose name was not released, needs chemotherapy treatment for her cancer, but is nine weeks pregnant and the chemotherapy treatment would probably terminate the pregnancy, which violates the country's anti-abortion laws, reports CNN.

The Dominican Republic's constitution, Article 37, reads "the right to life is inviolable from the moment of conception and until death."

The girtl's mother, Rosa Hernandez, is trying to convince the Semma Hospital and the government to make an exception: "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."

Lilliam Fondeur, a women's rights activist, told CNN: "How can it be possible that so much time is being wasted? That the treatment hasn't begun yet because they're still meeting, trying to decide if she has the right to receive the treatment to save her life, that's unacceptable."

Pelegrin Castillo, one of the authors of Article 37, said there was no reason to worry about the situation: "What we have clearly said is that in this case doctors are authorized by the constitution to treat the patient. They don't have to worry about anything. They have the mandate of protecting both lives."


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