babies and pregnancy · birthday · Hispanics/Latinos · medications · news

Dominican Women in Trouble

It’s not every day that you open the NY Times and find news about Dominicans so, of course, when I saw a link to “For Privacy’s Sake, Taking Risks to End Pregnancy”, I scrambled to open it. What I read when I opened the link and skimmed the article was really troubling. It was sad news.

The article focuses on the troubling nontraditional ways that women in the Dominican community, particularly in Washington Heights, are ending their pregnancies. The article tried not to past judgment but it left me utterly unsettled. The women, the doctors and others interviewed in the article mark a troubling trend of Dominican and other immigrant women taking prescription ulcer medications to induce abortions at home. With both condoms and birth control remote for social and financial reasons, these lost women make, indeed, scary choices.

I grew up in a Washington Heights where it was all too common for a teenage girl to get pregnant. I joked as a teen that it was a requirement at my aunt’s Catholic high school. I never once stopped to think of all the women who were choosing another alternative. As mostly staunch Catholics, Dominicans, I imagine, would find abortion more taboo than bringing a pregnancy to term that would be glaring evidence of sex before marriage. The article, unfortunately, didn’t prove me wrong.

4 thoughts on “Dominican Women in Trouble

  1. A phenomena I’m familiar with. I remember hearing women around me talk about “bringing down their periods” on both the Puerto Rican and Dominican Sides of the family. It was always some pill or another washed down with malta. You will always have women taking risks with their lives when they are too afraid to seek safe reproductive health care. Hell, just getting a pelvic exam in my family was controversial because only married women needed them, and if you weren’t married obviously you were a puta. You should have seen the screaming when I taught my teenage cousins how to do a breast exam. They way a large portion of latino culture views women’s sexuality is going to continue to put women at risk unless a real effort is put forward to force change.


  2. I agree with you. Reading this article, I felt like I was the great beneficiary of an American culture that was much more open-minded. I never had to deal with these kinds of awful circumstances. I do hope that things change for these women and for the machista Latino culture, here and abroad.


  3. From your lips to G-d’s ear, girl. We can only hope. This doesn’t even cover girls who hide their pregnancies and don’t get prenatal care. I had a friend and a cousin hide pregnancies because of the stigma attached. Or my cousin who got pregnant at 13 because her religious parents gave her zero sex ed so she was taken advantage of. She thought condom was short for condominium. She was forced to keep the baby as “punishment” for her “promiscuity”.Blech. I worry about the health of all of these women in immigrant communities, and other marginalized communities. Welcome back! I leave to PR on Monday morning.


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