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PROBE: Jan. 10, 2002

January 10, 2002

QUESTION: We moved here in October from Stanislaus County. I am almost eight months pregnant but I can't get approval for Medi-Cal so I can continue my prenatal treatment. My doctor said if my Medi-Cal application is not approved by my next appointment, I must bring $300 with me. My application has been rejected twice. They say we make too much money. My husband just got a new job. He makes $9 an hour. Help! — Expecting, Calexico

A $9-an-hour job would not make you ineligible for prenatal care under Medi-Cal, said Gary Andrews, program supervisor at the Imperial County Department of Social Services.

The state is so anxious to get pregnant women in for prenatal care that it's hard to be ineligible, Andrews said.

Even pregnant illegal immigrants who live in California qualify for prenatal care. The thinking is the baby will be born here and the baby will be a citizen.

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It's more likely a residency problem, he said. Medi-Cal officials may think you don't live in California, he said. He promised to check your application and find why you keep getting denied.

In the meantime, check with Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo. Talk to Evelyn Lamas, a Clinicas program supervisor. She said she would give you "presumptive Medi-Cal." That means you can receive prenatal treatment under the presumption you will eventually be approved.

TWO SIDES TO EVERY STORY — I am the husband whose wife claimed he stole the two little girls and brought them to California.

Please listen to my side of the story. I got custody of my little girls in Mexico because my wife beat my 6-year-old so badly the school called Desarrollo Integaral de La Familia, the Mexican version of Child Protective Services. She had full custody at the time.

I have pictures to show you. My little girl was beaten so badly she couldn't sit down in school. One tooth was knocked out, her lip was busted and pieces of her scalp torn out when she was hit in the head with a belt buckle.

We went to court on Christmas Eve in El Centro. The judge denied my petition for full custody and a restraining order against my wife but left the issue open.

He issued an opinion Wednesday giving me full temporary custody, a temporary restraining order and denied my wife visitation until another hearing Feb. 15.

My wife's family has money. I have had three Mexico lawyers and she bought off all three. — Estranged Husband, Calexico

Well, fair's fair. She says your family bought off the judge.

We jest because sometimes a case is so sad it's easier to laugh than cry. Your story underscores that on both sides of the border, we're all only human — and there's nothing like a divorce to bring out the human comedy in all of us.

We were wrong about your Mexican divorce being valid in California. Ordinarily, a Mexican divorce will dissolve a California marriage.

But after you got a Mexican divorce, you married your wife again in California. As they say, breaking up is hard to do.

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