Rosa HernandezIn heartbreaking news this weekend, a 16-year-old pregnant teenager died after doctors initially refused to give her chemotherapy treatments. Their reason: The medicine that very well may have saved her life could have potentially killed her unborn child, which would go against the anti-abortion laws in the Dominican Republic where she lived.
According to CNN, she was 10 weeks pregnant when she was admitted to the hospital because of complications from leukemia. While the country debated her fate, the cancer was attacking her body. Though finally, more than 20 days after she was admitted, they finally relented and gave her chemo, it was too late. She died Friday, after miscarrying the baby, and it's absolutely outrageous that this happened.
I don't care how pro-life you are, I don't understand how anyone could deny a mother the right to choose to treat a fatal disease. Plenty of mothers may do so willingly, but to be told that you MUST put your life in danger for the sake of a baby you may never live to raise or even meet is unfathomable. On airplanes they tell us to help ourselves before we help our children; even in Catholic school I was taught that if a mother's life is at risk, that's an exception for abortion. And this girl wasn't even intentionally trying to abort a child -- she just wanted to try to save her own life.
It's especially tragic on the heels of a study that came out last week that found chemotherapy during pregnancy doesn't affect babies. Of course, that was just one study, but still to think that this girl -- who hasn't been named due to her age -- could possibly still be alive if she'd been given the medication she needed when she needed it is appalling.
Now her mother, Rosa Hernandez, is left to grieve the loss of her young daughter's life. She told CNN:
They have killed me, I'm dead, dead. I'm nothing. She was the reason for my existence. I no longer live. Rosa has died. Let the world know that Rosa is dead.
Condolences to her, and may her daughter's death not be in vain. Hopefully, it will help persuade those in the Dominican and elsewhere that a woman's life is at least as important as that of her unborn baby, and that pregnancy shouldn't prevent women from taking steps necessary to save their own lives. Whether giving the chemo immediately would have save the girl or not is unknown, but she and her family should have been able to find out.
If you found out you had cancer while you were pregnant would you undergo whatever treatments were necessary to save your life, even if there was a potential risk to your unborn child?
Image via CNN