The teen died from complications of the disease, said Dr. Antonio Cabrera, the legal representative for the hospital. Her case stirred debate in her country, as her life was potentially at risk because of anti-abortion laws 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 began receiving treatment.
Anti-Abortion Law Kills Dominican Teenager | Center for Reproductive Rights
As teenage pregnancy rates are decreasing in the United States, rates in the Dominican Republic are soaring. In this Caribbean country where abortion is illegal under any circumstance, more than one in 10 teenage girls became pregnant in —double the world average and triple the United States average. Along with poverty and the Dominican Republic's legal sex trade, these figures are mostly attributed to the lack of sexual education at home and in schools. Teenagers are simply advised, mostly by parents, to not have sex, but are rarely taught about it. The initiative, set to launch in January , will require all public schools to teach sexual education. Southern Illinois University Carbondale student fellows Jennifer Gonzalez and Luke Nozicka travel to the Dominican Republic to document the lives of these girls and attempts to reduce the number of pregnant teenagers. Pulitzer Center student fellows travel the world to report on issues that affect us all—telling stories that might otherwise go untold.
A year-old Dominican teenager, shot by her alleged boyfriend a week ago, was buried this Saturday amid a wave of sexist violence that adds up to nine crimes in November and two days to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Woman. The relatives of Emely Twomey Acosta demand justice against the perpetrator, whom they identify as Melvin Quezada Soto, allegedly dedicated to the micro-trafficking of drugs in the sector of Sabana Perdida, municipality of Santo Domingo Norte, where the event occurred. The young woman's mother, Evelis Acosta, denounced in the wake that before shooting her, Quezada hit her daughter and after hurting her locked her in her apartment. Some neighbors sang religious songs and others exhibited posters with photos of Emely and legends such as "It was just a girl, a girl", "We want justice" or "Your absence hurts, my little hand".
The Dominican Republic's constitution holds that the right to life begins at conception. Antonio Cabrera, the legal representative for Semma Hospital in Santo Domingo, told CNN that the year-old teenager died from complications from acute leukemia. She is not being named for privacy reasons. The girl—nicknamed Esperanza by the local media—was nine weeks pregnant when she was diagnosed with the disease, CNN reported.