Denied Help, Woman Gives Birth on Clinic Lawn

Critics in Mexico say it's all about racism

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 9, 2013 6:30 PM CDT | Updated Oct 9, 2013 7:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – Mexican officials are investigating after a woman gave birth in an unlikely place: the lawn outside a clinic that had denied her medical assistance. Irma Lopez, 29, says she and her husband walked for an hour to the clinic, but were turned away by a nurse who said she was "still not ready" to give birth. Well, Lopez's water broke about 90 minutes later and she gave birth while clutching a wall next door in pain, the AP reports. And a witness snapped a photo of it that ran under screaming headlines across the country (see the photo, with umbilical cord intact, at Medical Daily.)

Critics say Lopez was denied care because she's among the indigenous poor. "They are not being offered quality health services, not even a humane treatment," said a reproductive rights advocate in Mexico. The numbers bear that out: Mexican states with the most indigenous people have the worst maternal-death rates, by far. As for Lopez, she and her baby boy are healthy after receiving $30 in aid at the clinic. "I am naming him Salvador," she said, a name that translates as "Savior" in English. "He really saved himself."

In this Oct. 6, 2013 photo, 29-year-old Irma Lopez talks to her children as her newborn son Salvador sleeps on her lap at her home in the town of Jalapa de Diaz, Mexico.
In this Oct. 6, 2013 photo, 29-year-old Irma Lopez talks to her children as her newborn son Salvador sleeps on her lap at her home in the town of Jalapa de Diaz, Mexico.   (AP Photo/Chema Alvarez)
In this Oct. 6, 2013 photo, 29-year-old Irma Lopez stands next to her newborn son Salvador at a clinic in the town of Jalapa de Diaz, Mexico.
In this Oct. 6, 2013 photo, 29-year-old Irma Lopez stands next to her newborn son Salvador at a clinic in the town of Jalapa de Diaz, Mexico.   (AP Photo/Chema Alvarez)
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