#womenslives: costly, traumatic nightmare of being undocumented and pregnant – @Madame_George on @broadly

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Undocumented migrants already struggle to access healthcare, but doctors warn that the problem is especially acute among pregnant women. Li fled to the UK in 2012, escaping persecution in China for being a Christian. But her problems got exponentially worse when she found out she was pregnant. Turned away from her local GP because she didn’t have documents to prove her address, Li broke up with her boyfriend and found herself homeless, couchsurfing on friends’ sofas when they had room for her.

She eventually sought help at the Doctors of the World women and children’s clinic, where she finally registered with a GP and got the antenatal care she needed—at a cost. Although the humanitarian organization helped Li deliver her child safely, they couldn’t stop her from getting charged for it. Li was billed just over £5,000 for her NHS hospital care before she had even given birth. “It was so scary,” Li says. “When you’re a single mom and you see a bill like that, you just panic.”

Li’s story is representative of countless pregnant women Dr. Rhiannon England treats at the London clinic. Located east in Bethnal Green, the service runs on the first and third Tuesday of every month. At their general clinic, Doctors of the World offers primary care and health and social advice from volunteer doctors, nurses, and support workers. They also help register people with their local GP. At their women and children’s clinic, women can be referred for antenatal care.

Source/ rest: broadly.vice.com