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Jul 28 2012

The council is leaning

A girl of 16 in the Dominican Republic is in the hospital with acute leukemia. She can’t get life-saving chemotherapy because she’s ten weeks pregnant.

Following a change to the constitution in 2010, abortion in the Dominican Republic is banned under any circumstances, even when the mother’s health or life is in danger.

But wait, you say, chemotherapy is not an abortion. Ah no, but that doesn’t matter, Rafael Romo reports for CNN.

…treatment would very likely terminate the pregnancy, a violation of Dominican anti-abortion laws.

So Dominican “anti-abortion” laws cover even life-saving medical treatment that would very likely end the pregnancy? That’s quite an anti-abortion law.

Miguel Montalvo, the director of the bioethics council that rules on the application of the law, says the council is leaning toward allowing the treatment. “At the end of the day the patient may decide for himself or herself. In this case, the family may decide what’s more convenient for the patient,” Montalvo said.

Women’s and human rights groups are outraged, saying the girl should have received chemotherapy immediately.

Lilliam Fondeur, a women’s rights activist, complains that conservative politics is preventing necessary treatment to save the teenager’s life.

“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,” Fondeur said.

It is, isn’t it.”Leaning toward”? Hurry the fuck up! “At the end of the day”? At the end of what day? Hurry up! It’s so attractive, all this calm leisured chat while a teenager is deathly ill.

And while the debate rages on around the country, back at the hospital the clock keeps ticking for the 16-year-old pregnant girl.

Oh never mind her, let’s just have some more reasoned discussion.

23 comments

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  1. 1
    Olle Sahlin

    She gets the therapy, she lives.

    She doesn’t get the therapy, she dies and the child dies with her.

    I cannot understand why that choice is difficult.

  2. 2
    suzysalaksartok

    Well maybe she should have thought about that BEFORE getting cancer!

    Seriously…how is this even a choice one has to think about?

    Isn’t this the kind of thing, when you ask an anti-choicer about whether in a fire situation theyd save the 1 live baby or the cart with hundreds of frozen fetuses, that they say is just ridiculous and would never happen?

    Some slopes actually are that slippery.

  3. 3
    anthrosciguy

    Well, we have to consider the life of the more important of the two, and guess who that is?

    OK fellas, hows about we do the chemo, and let God decide whether the fetus lives through it? Seems their faith doesn’t extend to that.

  4. 4
    Godless Heathen

    the family may decide what’s more convenient for the patient,” Montalvo said.

    Yes, well, it’s generally more convenient to live than to die.

    More convenenient? WTF.

  5. 5
    hyperdeath

    Olle Sahlin says:

    She doesn’t get the therapy, she dies and the child dies with her.

    I cannot understand why that choice is difficult.

    Bitches ain’t shit, amirite?

    Although the Catholic Church would probably phrase it differently.

  6. 6
    Psimon

    Of course it isn’t necessarily an either or question anyway.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/chemotherapy-is-safe-during-pregnancy-6699892.html

  7. 7
    Yessenia

    Perhaps she would survive long enough to give birth before dying of cancer. She’s sixteen, she’s had the sex, so she’s not worth anything. What bride price could she possibly bring?

    Ideally she’d slip into a coma for the last several months so she can truly be an incubator for what may very well be a male fetus. Checkmate, pro-choicers!

  8. 8
    Rene

    this girl and her family face tough choices. I don’t see how it helps to have strangers chime in and put pressure on her or them.

  9. 9
    Ophelia Benson

    Tough choices? What tough choices? The choice between the girl and her 10-week-old fetus? That’s not a tough choice.

    Anyway, they don’t – they know what they want. They want the treatment and have been begging the doctors to provide it.

    Honestly, choosing between an existing human being with memories and dreams and plans and a 10 week fetus is not a tough choice.

  10. 10
    Stacy

    this girl and her family face tough choices. I don’t see how it helps to have strangers chime in and put pressure on her or them

    What “tough choice”? The choice is, does this young girl die of cancer because her fetus might not survive the appropriate treatment, or receive treatment?

  11. 11
    Stacy

    Sorry. Didn’t refresh.

  12. 12
    San Ban

    So Haiti’s legislature was so concerned with keeping people alive after the most horrific natural disaster of recent times that they passed a law that limits medical care to its people. Any guesses what type of pressure was brought to bear and from what groups or nations to pass this law in the midst of earthquake recovery efforts and ongoing cholera and typhus epidemics?

  13. 13
    Ophelia Benson

    Heh. Snap, Stacy.

    @ 12 – it’s the other end of the island – the DR, not Haiti.

  14. 14
    coragyps

    I’m guessing “more convenient” is a translation problem…..

  15. 15
    San Ban

    Oops! Sorry! A good example of bias overcoming reason.

    I’ve looked into this law further and, it appears the Catholic Church pushed for this law and there was opposition, but no women’s groups were heard on the matter before passage.

  16. 16
    anthrosciguy

    but no women’s groups were heard on the matter before passage.

    To be entirely fair to the legislators who didn’t let them be heard, if you do let them talk they’re liable to use simply awful words like “vagina”. One’s delicate ears cannot be subjected to that.

    And agreed, there is no “tough choice” here.

  17. 17
  18. 18
    g

    This is double-super-extra-bonkers because surely it’s a crystal-clear case of the “principle of double effect”, so that *even according to RC doctrine* the chemotherapy is the right option.

    (In so far as anything ever is a crystal-clear case of the PDE, which seems to me to be an ad hoc hack to make a broken system of ethics produce slightly less blatantly broken conclusions in a few cases.)

    A fine example of bad religion and bad politics combining to produce something even worse than either of them would have come up with on its own.

  19. 19
    Godless Heathen

    I HOPE “more convenient” is a translation problem…

  20. 20
    San Ban

    “We’re clinging to science and God,” Cabrera said.

    Now she’s having chemo, but they’re “monitoring ” her and the embryo. What happens if the chemo starts to have a detrimental effect on the embryo? Does the thinking, breathing patient have ANY say in her medical care?

  21. 21
    submoron

    “She gets the therapy, she lives.

    She doesn’t get the therapy, she dies and the child dies with her.

    I cannot understand why that choice is difficult.”

    The Catholic Church takes the view that a miracle can always happen. That’s how they dealt with that Brazilian case some while back.

    Sorry, don’t know how to do those quotation things that you do.

  22. 22
    God help me

    renovation contractor

  23. 23
    crowepps

    As I understand it, the position of the Catholic Church is that a *good* woman wouldn’t *want* to survive her fetus.

  1. 24
    Cheap cooktops

    Cheap cooktops…

    [...]The council is leaning | Butterflies and Wheels[...]…

  2. 25
    Preview of a Roe V. Wade-less United States? « Foster Disbelief

    [...] Butterflies and Wheels: A girl of 16 in the Dominican Republic is in the hospital with acute leukemia. She can’t get [...]

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