In The Community

Graphic design showcasing Adilka Féliz and Damaris Mejía against the backdrop of the Dominican Republic flag.

Last week, the world lost Adilka Féliz, a woman who would still be alive if it weren’t for the total abortion ban in the Dominican Republic. Her life is one of countless that have been lost since the abortion ban was introduced in 1884, which then became constitutional in 2010 with the ratification of Article 37, declaring a right to life from the moment of conception. No matter the circumstances.

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a woman stands at a chalkboard pointing to a drawing of a vagina during a sex ed presentation as young girls sit in classroom chairs

This reporting was produced with the support of the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) as part of its Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice in the Americas Initiative.

I had never been to the Dominican Republic before, but as an ardent long-time advocate for abortion rights, I was well-versed with U.S. and global examples of the travesties women and families endure under severe reproductive rights restrictions and total abortion bans. Despite this, after a week of meeting with advocates, educators, and activists, I found I wasn’t prepared to witness the real-life devastation of a total abortion ban.

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Photograph depicting a young girl in a somber stance, holding a pregnancy test in her hand.

In June 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States decided to overturn Roe v. Wade. The news was met with alarm not only from women all over the country but also from healthcare providers. These professionals expressed grave concerns about the negative effects the decision would have on women’s health, including mental health.

Today, those concerns are a reality, and the statistics are alarming, especially when it comes to Latinas, who are suffering the disproportionate impact of abortion restrictions. Particularly in states like Texas, where abortion has been banned after 6 weeks of pregnancy since 2021.

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