America’s Abandoned Babies

  One cold December night, Jamie, 19, the frightened and unmarried mother of a two-year-old son, gave birth to a baby boy on her trailer home floor. Out of fear, she had kept her pregnancy hidden from her parents. She would have gone to a hospital, she said, but she had no money and no insurance. Jamie's boyfriend asked a hospital emergency room nurse where they could leave a baby awaiting adoption. "We do not handle that," the nurse said. Before midnight, Jamie bundled up the baby and left the trailer. She returned empty-handed. Police later found the newborn, alive, in a cardboard box. He had been abandoned in the dark empty hallway of a nearby apartment complex. Jamie's baby is just one of America's newborns routinely found abandoned in trash bins, junk cars, and dark alleyways. Recently, ten abandoned infants were found dead in New York City. Minnesota officials discovered a dead newborn in a bathroom stall. Four abandoned babies, three of them dead, were found in Louisiana. Spurred by the discovery of thirteen abandoned babies in ten months in Houston, in September 1999 Texas passed the nation's first Safe Haven Law. After the death of an abandoned newborn in a hospital parking lot, Indiana also passed the Safe Haven law. In the past two years, thirty-five other states have adopted Safe Haven Laws. These laws allow mothers to anonymously leave a newborn at hospitals, firehouses, and other designated facilities without fear of prosecution. But even with widespread promotion, they are having little effect. When New Jersey spent $500,000 to promote newborn Safe Havens, six babies were left at Safe Havens, but two others were left at a doorstep and old car. Florida distributed decals at firehouses proclaiming: "A Safe Baby Station: Leave a Baby in Safety." Yet, Florida firefighters recently counted eleven illegal abandonments, with four of the babies dead. The problem of abandoned babies goes far deeper than lack of finances, fear of family, or criminal prosecution. It's a reflection, I believe, of our callous disregard of the sanctity of human life. The abortion lobby and the pro-choice people wouldn't sanction leaving abandoned babies in dark alleys, but in helping undercut respect for life, that's exactly the horror they've helped create. The truth is, all life is precious in God's sight. The Psalmist David writes: "For you [God] created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made . . . All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." (Ps. 139:13, 14, 16 NIV) A baby -- born and unborn -- is precious to God. It is not a disposable commodity. A child's life should not be subject to our finances, our fears, and our convenience. We somehow have lost the sense of sacredness that a new life embodies. We are throwing away precious human life -- our future generations. And until we regain our respect and reverence for valuable human life -- until we realize that our babies belong to God, not to us -- we will no doubt continue to find America's newborns crying in cardboard boxes and abandoned in dark empty hallways. =============================== Nina Bernstein and Gregg Matthews, "Few Women Choose to Abandon Newborns at Legal Havens," The New York Times, 31 August 2001.    


Chuck Colson


  • Facebook Icon in Gold
  • Twitter Icon in Gold
  • LinkedIn Icon in Gold

Sign up for the Daily Commentary