Today's paper had a thought-provoking article that made me uneasy..what do you think?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by DDD, Mar 16, 2013.

  1. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    As you all know I live in Florida and in our State there exists a law that newborn babies can be left at fire stations (and I think churches) with no questions asked. I have never read how many new Mothers do abandon their babies but in my mind I picture frightened young unwed Mothers doing their best to hide their pregnancy, giving birth alone and then leaving the baby behind to have a safe life. According to my understanding it's like "don't ask..don't tell" the parentage is not pursued.

    There is a new provision, evidently, that the baby must be handed to an employee. I read two papers a day and I've never read of the new provision. Sigh. Anyway a baby died outside a firehouse. It was all wrapped up, umbilical cord attached but nobody went outside in time.

    Now they are using security cameras in an attempt to identify the Mother so she can face charges. Of course it is a tragedy about the baby. It's a tragedy that society doesn't provide adequate support for unwed Mothers. But...I think it is also a tragedy to seek out the Mom. Maybe my perceptions are skewed. I worked with Florence Crittenden Home For Unwed Mothers in the 60's as a volunteer. I'll never forget a "Twiggy" like twelve year old there. I had unwed Mothers live in my home until birth for a number of years. I've never met a teen or young woman who carried for nine months and then had evil intent. This article has made me sad and frustrated this morning. What do you think? DDD
  2. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    Agreed - I don't think going through all that and then leaving the infant at the fire station is evidence of any evil intent. Don't think they should be prosecuted. On a cold night, of course it would make sense to leave the baby with someone, no questions asked. They can't be blamed for not being in their right mind at that moment. If a young woman hasn't made any provisions beforehand, I could understand how they would feel like a trapped animal when the baby starts to come out.
    I've never given birth, but I can't imagine going through all that, the fear, the mess, the blood, pain,etc., and walking to a fire house feeling so sick and worn out, lonely and depressed. That has to take courage. It's a wonder that any infant makes it there in the first place.
  3. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    I understand the idea behind the law but it seems to me that it will cause far more tragedies than it hopes to prevent. If you are frantic enough to give up your newborn under those circumstances, you are doing it because you don't want your identity known. If you believe that you are going to be identified no matter what there is a good chance some of those babies will be left in garbage cans, etc.
    Just another law made by old men who have no idea what they're doing.
  4. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    No way should this mother face charges, she had only good intentions for her child. What happened is a tragedy and an accident of fate not a crime.

    Honestly I think it would be better to have a mandated protochol for drop off sites rather than this law that they give it directly to someone. The protochol should includ a heated/airconditioned vestibule with a buzzer and a light that the women must activate to alert that the baby has been left. A baby drop so to speak.

    I think this new rule that they give the baby over in person nulifies the anonominity that the law was trying to provide in the first place. I'm afraid FL is going to see more dead children in dumpsters from this new provision rather than protecting future abondoned children. -RM
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2013
  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am on the fence about the new provision. It isn't my state, but of course we all have opinions and ideas. I do think if she left a baby outside on a freezing night or during a very hot day then something needs to happen. I don't know if jail time is it, mostly because jail time won't help anything. Having a lighted, climate controlled area where babies can be left would be a wonderful thing. I am thinking of the small shed size buildings that some banks used to have for ATM machines in the 80's/early 90's. A video camera that allows the police/firemen/medical personnel/whomever to monitor the child in the amount of time it takes them to get to the building, plus an alarm to let people know that a child is there would go a long way to helping keep the babies safe.

    The person who left the child needs to be found. Not so much to face criminal charges as to receive education and counseling so that she doesn't do this again. Maybe if someone had told her that to drop off the child at one of the designated locations without letting anyone know the child is there is a very bad thing. Also to let her know that you cannot leave a child outside for any length of time because they cannot regulate their body temperature and are so vulnerable to pretty much everything.

    As we have these safe drop off places to protect babies, we also need to make sure that people know how to best protect the child when you drop them off. I can EASILY see a teen, preteen, handicapped person or highly sheltered person dropping off the child and truly not realizing that someone needs to know the child is there and the child needs to be in a protected area until people know it is there.

    in my opinion we need to spend money not on a criminal case against the mother, but on an education campaign so that people will know how to do this safely so that the child is not harmed in any way.
  6. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    I agree that her intentions were to HELP her baby. All that article in the paper will do is scare anyone who may try to help her newborn in that same way. They'll be too scared to be prosecuted, they may do something tragic, even if the law stays the same.
  7. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    We have that same law here but ours goes a little further. They can be left at fire and police stations and also at hospitals. I would seriously question leaving a newborn at a church. Here at least, most of them sit empty except for a few hours a week. It could be days before a baby was discovered there. And I would think that trying to identify the mother or making the mother hand over the baby to an employee would completely defeat the purpose! Any girl or woman who goes to the extreme length to conceals a pregnancy, then gives birth alone and unattended, is not going to want to be identified or be seen leaving that baby! The law was enacted here as a last ditch effort to save the lives of some of those infants who would otherwise end up in dumpsters or floating in the river, not as a means to persecute the mother. If you take the anonyminity out of it, you totally defeat the purpose.

    Right now, here in Tennessee, there is a trial going on for a girl who is accused is killing her healthy, normal, newborn twin boys and hiding their bodies in a laundry basket! She was engaged to one man but the father of the babies was another man. She somehow managed to conceal her pregnancy from both her parents and the fiance, then gave birth alone and and smothered both babies. She is claiming mental illness and that she didn't know she was pregnant (with twins!) but the hard drive of her computer shows that she made many pregnancy-related searches during her pregnancy so she obviously did know. Had she chosen to take advantage of the laws, she could have left those babies at a hospital or fire station and they both would be alive and well today. Such a shame.

    Incidentally, they had to modify these laws in some places to include an age cut-off. People were bringing in their school-age problem kids and even teenagers and leaving them at the police station! Really!
  8. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I surely don't have "the answer" but my gut tells me that if you randomly show up at a police or fire station and say "here is my baby"...uh....the chances are pretty huge that the person would say "let me drive you to the hospital, or let me get my Sgt. or wouldn't you like to lay down or may I have your name and address?" I just don't think most adults (and many of the firemen/policemen are young adults) would just take the baby and say "good luck". I could be wrong.

    I would think that a toll free crisis response team of women might be more likely to say "hang on" "we're coming" "keep the baby warm" "do you need us to bring anything for you like a coat or a blanket?" I would trust women to respond quickly and in a healthier anonymous way. Maybe I'm partial to female volunteers. Sigh. DDD

    PS: In a small town where "everyone" knows "everyone" there would have to be a pledge of secrecy or at the grocery store the next day everyone would be whispering "Did you hear Peggy Sue had a baby and dropped it off?" Ugh!
  9. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I think the new provision is an attempt to prevent what happened to this infant. It's not going to work, of course, because a parent who feels the need to resort to this is desperate enough not to have their identity known for whatever reason they have.......and they'll still leave it outside or whatever. in my opinion it's far better than leaving it in a toilet or a dumpster or putting it into a trashcan at the curb.

    Perhaps they ought to mandate that hospitals ect have a buzzer installed at doors so that when a mom drops off an infant she can ring the buzzer to make sure someone comes out. Not sure how well that would work but a darn sight higher chance than actually handing the infant over.

    This mother thought she'd taken her infant to a safe haven. Authorities need to leave her alone. It's not her fault the infant died. Since I'm sure this has been plastered all over the news, and this mom knows who she is.........she is already having to live with the consequences of her decision. I wouldn't want to be her. :(
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I agree that the mother meant her baby no harm and to go after her will just discourage other mothers from doing this out of fear. Agree that old men need to stop making rules for women's problems. Now perhaps more scared young mothers will feel the need to kill their babies, if they are desperate enough. Are we going backwards??
  11. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Drop-off points need to be set up to be anonymous.
    They have these in other countries (don't have time to search for an exact example), works something like this...

    The parent opens a small door in an inobtrusive location (guaranteed NOT to have security cameras), and places the infant in a crib/bassinette or similar structure, then closes the door. One minute after the door is closed, a buzzer goes off inside the building, and someone comes to retrieve the child. The child is never left outside. The parent never has to meet anybody. It is truly a safe option. But... retrofit every fire station to have that? That costs $$$.
  12. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Obviously this mother meant well. Should the girl have rang the bell? Probably. Obviously she didn't have the proper abilities to be a mother, and she did what she was told that she should do. FWIW, the caveat to this law makes this law worthless. If fire stations are going to be in the business of rescuing newborns on the doorstep they should keep the doorstep under observation. They are grown men (and women) who deal with medical emergencies every day. If they say that they'll take in any newborn left on their steps and then don't watch for it to happen, bad on them. That's their job.

    I realize I'm being hyperbolic about this, but seriously! No more so than the people slavering for the girl's head on a platter.
  13. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    There should be something like this. Maybe Fire stations aren't the answer. Maybe orphanages are the answer.

    And we all know that Americans aren't spending ANY money on protecting young unmarried pregnant girls and their children - or their choices even when their choices are legal.

    The obvious exception to this "no spending $$$ on young mothers" rule is when we might be able to prosecute a young woman and televise it daily on Nancy Grace. Then we're going whole hog.
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    In the US, we basically don't have orphanages anymore. So that wouldn't work. I like firestations and the hospital, but not so crazy about churches since a lot of times they are empty.
  15. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    You all know there is a segment of the population who think if she was old enough to have sex then she should be old enough to know how to take care of a child. Obviously, she chose life but not many in our country seem to think that they are responsible to help her raise a life.
    There is no way this country with the current mentality of "I take care of myself, the young mother or her family needs to take care of her and her baby" will pass any law for any more tax money to be spent. No or reduced government assistance is the trend of the land.
    I don't think we all share a level playing field in terms of dealing with the consequences of an unplanned pregnancy. I would have gone to jail(never for hurting a baby) before I told my parents I was pregnant without the benefit of marriage. My parents felt strongly that an unmarried daughter being pregnant was worse than being a drug dealer. Fortunately, once I was out of high school I realized birth control was a wiser choice.
    This person who thought she was saving a child ends up reading that her child died of neglect. Anyhow, I hope she feels some anguish because if not then that baby was a "thing" and not a person. So so sad and unnecessary.
    Babies should be wanted and/or planned but not everyone thinks about their consequences. If you have sex, you will become pregnant. Teen girls don't seem to get that. It's not a rocket science.
    Babies shouldn't be thrown away and there are safe harbors, but ultimately the mother has to do one thing and make sure that child is known to the safe harbor even if it is an anonymous phone call.
  16. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    The whole culture has changed so much since I was that age! It's a whole different world out there now. I graduated from high school in the mid-sixties and back then it was such a disgrace. I went to a small school but the whole time I think I maybe knew of two girls who became pregnant in high school! One girl dropped out of school and married the father who was just a kid himself and soon found herself divorced with a baby to take care of. Of course, her reputation was ruined and she was the the subject of town gossip for years. And she never returned to school because that was not allowed back then. The other was a girl who seemed to have it made. She was the cute, smart, honor roll cheerleader type. We knew nothing about it till one Monday when she and her brother weren't in school. Turns out that she and her whole family had picked up and moved to another county over the weekend without a word to anyone! She had apparently become pregnant by a boy in my class and the family moved because they didn't want to have the shame of having a pregnant daughter in an area where everyone knew them. Of course the boy went right on with his life like nothing had happened, playing football and basketball and graduating with the rest of us.

    Of course those attitudes were very wrong. But now it has gone completely the other way! There is no shame or stigma attached at all now ... celebrities do it all the time and it has become almost "cool". 12 and 13 year olds are having sex in the back of the school bus and these kids are having babies! Ask anyone who has worked in a hospital, like my daughter, and they can tell you that it's not at all unusual to see 13 year olds coming in and giving birth. But just because it's acceptable to their peers doesn't mean that it's acceptable to the parents, and then you end up with babies in dumpsters and trash cans. My son graduated from high school in 1999. When he was a senior I remember him showing me his year book and he went through the pictures of the kids in his class pointing out which girls either were currently pregnant or had already had babies ... well over ONE-THIRD of the girls in his graduating class! And it's even worse now! And this generation of girls has much greater access to reliable birth control methods than our generation did. I really don't know what the answer is.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2013
  17. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    I agree with you 100% Donna. Children having children is a travesty in my humble opinion. If my child were pregnant the last thing I would think of is "the shame" to the family as much as how are these youngsters going to raise a youngster. I don't know why they think having a baby at 13 is cool. They have been taught by many people, in many venues that life changes dramatically when they give birth. And definitely not for the better.
  18. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    There's been talk off-and-on around here about having a safe drop-spot at maternity hospitals... which should work. There aren't THAT many hospitals to retrofit, and they are already staffed 24/7.

    We used to have something like this, back in the days when one of the churches ran a home for unwed teen mothers - the home was actively staffed 24/7, and they had a foundling door.
  19. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I agree with-HoundDog, that whoever wrote the law didn't think through the consequences and potential alternatives. And this is what happened. Back to the drawing board.
    She should absolutely NOT be prosecuted. She did the right thing. So sad.
    And so sad, Donna, about the mom with-twins who did the computer search and then smothered the babies. I think the headline for all relinquishments should read, "SAFE. NO QUESTIONS asked."
    Because that's what these girls are panicking about.
  20. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    So long as we keep pushing abstinence education, there are going to be unplanned pregnancies. If you want to terrify yourself, watch "Daddy, I Do".

    FWIW, a study published two years ago in Pediatrics showed that just five years after making a so-called "purity pledge" -- which is how the effectiveness of many abstinence-only programs are gauged -- 82 percent of teens denied having even made the pledge at all, and the age at which they first had sex was the same as those who hadn't taken the pledge.

    I honest to god don't know how we got so far backwards in my lifetime.