DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Despite a decades old Safe Haven Law, child advocacy experts said Monday, it’s not enough.
A second North Texas newborn was found discarded in or near a trash dumpster in as many weeks.
According to Dallas Police, someone taking out the trash discovered a newborn lying in some grass near a dumpster in the 5900 block of Watership Lane Saturday around 9:30 p.m.
The apartment complex is just off Hwy. 67 and Red Bird Lane in the South Oak Cliff area of Dallas.
A baby was found discarded in a trash dumpster in a strip mall shopping center in Hurst on June 15.
Advocates say the law’s impact is limited if women in trouble aren’t aware that they have options.
“I can’t imagine what they’re thinking,” says Patsy Summey with Baby Moses Dallas. “If this baby still had the umbilical cord attached, that means most likely the baby was delivered without assistance and the amount of pain and terror that person has gone through is just unbelievable.”
Summey and Baby Moses Dallas has been working for nearly two decades– since Texas’ Safe Haven Law was passed– to spread the word that distraught mothers have better options than to throw their babies away. The law allows unharmed infants younger than 60 days old to be voluntarily surrendered at a fire station or hospital, no questions asked, and without facing charges.
According to Dallas Police, the witness who found the newborn is new to the area, so she waited until her husband got home from work before they took the infant to the Texas Health emergency room in Grand Prairie.
The baby is said to be doing fine and has been taken to Children’s Medical Center Dallas. Dallas Police returned to the apartment complex but have been unable to locate any additional witnesses or the baby’s mother.
It is another close call for a newborn that child advocates say didn’t have to happen. Summey is calling on the community to work harder to let women in difficult situations know that the law provides a safe, legal option.
“It’s so discouraging to know that the law is there; but, we haven’t reached everyone that can be reached,” says Summey, reached while volunteering Monday at Methodist Dallas Medical Center. “Maybe we’ve become too complacent in our community, maybe the media needs to be running our PSA to let young people know that the law is available.”
And in spite of these recent disappointments, the law does save lives. A mother safely surrendered her newborn at a Plano fire station in May of last year.
After all, to voluntarily surrender a child is a choice for the mother, Summey says, but a chance for the child.