Pregnant woman delayed by Obama's motorcade in Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES Thu Jul 24, 2014 8:07pm BST

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A street closure caused by President Barack Obama's motorcade delayed a pregnant woman's crossing of a Los Angeles street to get to a hospital, police said Thursday, following an outcry on social media over the incident when some witnesses reported that the woman was in labor.

Police had closed off the street for the president's motorcade on Wednesday afternoon when he was in Los Angeles on a three-day fundraising swing for Democratic candidates.

The woman did not tell police at the scene of the street closure outside Cedars-Sinai Medical Center that she was in labor, said Los Angeles police spokesman Officer Bruce Borihanh.

"At no time did she ever need medical attention or ask for it, she just happened to be a pregnant woman waiting to cross the street while the motorcade was crossing,” Borihanh said.

Unable to get across the street, the woman sat at a bus bench and two nurses, who also were waiting to cross the street, checked on her, Borihanh said.

As a precaution, officers summoned an ambulance for the woman, but by the time it arrived, the motorcade had passed and she had crossed the street and entered the hospital, he said.

KNBC reporter Robert Kovacik, who shot video of the woman waiting on his cell phone, and other witnesses at the scene, described the woman as being in labor.

"Woman in labor on bench as motorcade passes; not allowed to cross street to get to #CedarsSinai," Kovacik wrote on his Instagram account, where he posted the video.

A White House representative referred questions to Los Angeles police and the Secret Service.

"The Secret Service works closely with state and local police counterparts in planning for and conducting motorcade movements of our protectees," a Secret Service spokesman said.

He said the Secret Service had a policy, in the event of a medical emergency, of facilitating ambulances "in the fastest and safest way possible."

A spokeswoman for Cedars-Sinai declined to comment on the incident or whether the woman later gave birth, citing patient privacy laws.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Additional reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Bill Trott and Bernadette Baum)

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