x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Pregnant woman detours en route to hospital to vote after water breaks

21-year-old Galicia Malone's water had broken and her contractions were about five minutes apart when she arrived at polling booth.

Nothing was going to stop first-time voter Galicia Malone from casting her ballot in Tuesday's US elections -- not even the
imminent birth of her first child.

The 21-year-old from Dolton, Illinois, a suburb of President Barack Obama's adopted hometown Chicago, had been in labor since the middle of the night, with contractions five minutes apart.

But she insisted en route to hospital on stopping at her local polling station -- the aptly named New Life Celebration Church -- to
cast her ballot, Cook County clerk David Orr said in a news release.

"I never voted before so this made a major difference in my life," Malone told Chicago's WBBM all-news radio station. "And I
wanted this to be a stepping-stone for my daughter."

"I was just trying to read (the ballot paper) and breathe, read and breathe," she added. "That's what I kept telling myself: 'Read and breathe, read and breathe'."

Orr, whose office is in charge of setting up local polling stations, said: "My hat goes off to Galicia for not letting anything
get in the way of voting. What a terrific example she is showing for the next generation."