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Shame In Mexico: Woman Gives Birth On Lawn After Hospital Turns Her Away

Irma Lopez, her husband and their newborn son, Salvador.

Irma Lopez, her husband and their newborn son, Salvador.

A photograph that has horrified Mexico and now the world illustrates just how dire maternal care is in parts of that country.

It shows a woman squatting on the lawn outside of a medical clinic in the southern state of Oaxaca to give birth after being denied help.

As The Huffington Post reports, Irma Lopez, 29, told The Associated Press that a nurse said she was only eight months pregnant and “still not ready” to deliver. The nurse told her to go outside and walk, and said a doctor could check her in the morning.  Little more than an hour later Lopez gave birth to a son, her third child, while grabbing the wall of a house next to the clinic. She was alone because her husband was still trying to find help.

“I didn’t want to deliver like this. It was so ugly and with so much pain.”

The photo was taken by Eloy Pacheco López (click link to see unedited photo) who happened to be passing by. He gave it to a local reporter and it has since spread throughout the world. You can see a slightly edited version of the photo here on The NY Daily News.

Now, the government of Oaxaca has suspended the health center’s director while an investigation is conducted into the incident. The photo graphically illustrates the desperate need for proper maternal care in parts of Mexico.

“The photo is giving visibility to a wider structural problem that occurs within indigenous communities: Women are not receiving proper care. They are not being offered quality health services, not even a humane treatment,” said Mayra Morales, Oaxaca’s representative for the national Network for Sexual and Reproductive Rights.

Unfortunately, that’s the case throughout much of the world. Women being denied basic maternity care, forced to walk miles and then wait  days for treatment. Many, like Irma, are being turned away but, unlike Irma, they end up dead. It’s unacceptable. Thank God for organizations like Every Mother Counts, started by Christy Turlington, working to make pregnancy and childbirth safe for all women. Click here for more information.

Image Source: Facebook.com/EloyPachecoLópez

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