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
Denied Help, Woman Gives Birth on Clinic Lawn
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)

(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.)

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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." (Read more Mexico stories.)

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