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Mississippi 2010 “safe haven”/legalized child abandonment law failures to date

Earlier this month I blogged several posts using Mississippi as a case study in relation to the ongoing failures of the legalized child abandonment schemes.

The so called “baby Moses” or “safe haven” laws were passed nationwide on the assurances of those advocating legalized child abandonment that unsafe child abandonments and the number of dead babies would decrease, if not stop altogether.  Now having more than a decades’ worth of a track record we see nothing could be farther from the truth.

Now with each new neonatacide or unsafe child abandonment instead of acknowleging the inherent failures of their law,  their tune has changed, insisting that these failures are mere byproducts of a “lack of educational effort” and demanding new monies be allocated to produce promotional materials, that legalized child abandonment advocates should be brought into school classrooms, and free media time be granted to their program such that women might be better taught their notion of a” best way” to abandon their children.

The human and civil rights consequences to the children who are processed through such schemes and the health concerns of their mothers are almost systematically disregarded and all too often treated as irrelevant.

In two of the cases I’m about to detail, where the mothers have been identified, they have been fortunate to receive both medical and mental health care. But had they not entered the system, as we’ll see in the third case, no follow up medical support for the mother has been possible. The baby dump laws place women in a very similar position, whereby they bring the child in, but may or may not receive any post-birth giving medical or counseling care themselves, let alone any legal counseling regarding the lifelong decision they are about to make, or counsel regarding what forms of support, financial or otherwise she may be entitled to.

So by way of follow up to my two pieces from earlier this month:

I offer a few links about the three cases I’ve found from 2010 that pertain to the law, and it’s failures. As I summarized:

the (at least) three cases I’ll be working with will be those of:

Of these three, they amount to two cases of neonatacide and one case of an illegal child abandonment  not in a designated drop point.

Linda-NashSo I’ll begin with the tragic case of Linda Nash, (age 16.)

As I summarized, her child was born at home in Linda’s adoptive parents home. She claims to have been unaware she was pregnant at the time.

Her trial included testimony about her having been a type 2 diabetic and how such may have affected her thought process. After giving birth, she “freaked out” and stabbed the newborn to death in a panic as her adoptive mother banged on the locked bathroom door. Her parents took her to the police.

She was sentenced to the minimum amount of prison time required under Mississippi law in part due to the “mitigating circumstances” at the center of the case, Among them the revelation of the identity of the newborn’s father: her 14-year-old brother, Lewis

The Panolian search on Linda Nash provides a number of articles, I’ll include one or two below but this is the link to the full set:

* WMCTV, February 1, 2010

Mississippi teen charged with stabbing newborn daughter to death

* Fox Memphis, February 1, 2010

Teen Mom Arrested for Murdering Newborn

*, February 2, 2010

Mississippi Teen Charged with Murdering Newborn

* wmctv February 2, 2010

Batesville reacts in shock to murder of newborn baby

* News 3, February 3, 2010

Experts Work To Help Teen Parents Avoid Abusing Their New Born Babies,0,1237091.story

* The Mississippi Link, February 5, 2010

Teen mom stabs newborn to death

* The Mississippi Link August 25, 2010

Teen who stabbed newborn will go to trial

* Fox Memphis, Setember 17, 2010

Teen Takes Reduced Charge in Baby’s Death’s-death

* The Panolian, September 21, 2010

Prosecutor: mother killed newborn boy with scissors

* Fox News, Oct 1, 2010

Linda Nash, Teen Convicted of Killing Newborn, Will Serve Prison Time,-teen-convicted-of-killing-newborn,-will-serve-prison-time

* The Panolian, October 5, 2010

Nash: I stabbed newborn while ‘freaked out,’ scared


Moving on to the second case from Mississippi this year, in early July, Sheila Ealey, 41 gave birth to boy at home with no medical assistance, and then within 24 hours wrapped the live child,  the umbilical cord still attached, in a garbage bag, wrapped a blanket around it and placed it in a suitcase which was left behind her local church.

The suitcase was discovered while clearing weeds around the property. Her pregnancy had been hidden. She was already a single mother to five other children. When the body was discovered, she turned herself in.

Sheriff: Baby Found In Suitcase Was Born Alive At Home

A baby boy that was found dead in a suitcase last week was born alive, Madison County Sheriff Toby Trowbridge said on Tuesday.

The newborn was found Friday afternoon in a garbage bag, wrapped in a blanket, inside the suitcase, behind the Smith Chapel Baptist Church in the 300 block of Livingston Vernon Road in Flora, the sheriff said.

Sheila Ealey is charged with murder in connection with the boy’s death, Trowbridge said. She surrendered to authorities Friday night, he said.

Additional articles and video segments:

*, July 2, 2010

Woman Charged After Baby Found Dead In Suitcase

* July 5, 2010

Flora Woman In Connection With Dead Baby In Church Graveyard Charged With Murder

* July 6, 2010

Sheriff: Baby Found In Suitcase Was Born Alive At Home

*, July 6, 2010

Ealey expected to appear in court Tuesday

* July 6, 2010

Family of Flora Mother Charged with Infant’s Murder: “We’re Shocked”

* July 7, 2010

Grand Jury to Soon Hear Case of Mother Accused of Killing Infant Son


* my July 8, 2010

$35K Bond Set for Flora Woman Accused in Baby’s Murder

* July 8,2010

Woman Charged In Baby’s Death Released On $35K Bond

* July 9, 2010 (This piece is little more than a commercial for Bethany Christian Services, an adoption agency, but naturally, they’re happy to capitalize on the case.)

Ealey’s Situation More Common Than You May Think

* (Also see Parents of newborn sought from October 14, 2010 that provides a slight recap at the bottom of the article.)

I’m still working to see if I can find any additional online coverage of the case after July.

(Justin Lewis, WTVA)

Photo: Justin Lewis, WTVA

Finally, we come to the case from earlier this month of a (live) less than week old Hispanic baby left off at an unattended Salvation Army donation station wrapped up and strapped into a car seat that I blogged about at the time, see my post After almost a decade, Mississippi “safe haven” legalized child abandonment scheme still fails.

A hospital, which would have been a legal authorized “safe haven” site was less than a mile away. The child has been placed with a foster family.

* October 13, 2010

Baby Found Abandoned in Houston; Mother Sought,40&

* WTVA October 13, 2010

Baby found at door of Salvation Army

* WTVA October 13, 2010

Abandoned newborn found in Houston

* Hattiesburg American October 13, 2010

Baby left at Salvation Army site in Mississippi

* myfoxmemphis, October 13, 2010

Baby Left at Salvation Army Site In Miss.

*The Clarion Ledger, October 14, 2010

Parents of newborn sought

* nems360.c0m October 14, 2010

Baby abandoned at Salvation Army in Houston

*AP October 14, 2010

Baby left at Salvation Army site in Miss.

* The Clarion Ledger October 14, 2010

Abandoned Mississippi baby’s parents not found

* The Calhoun County Journal

Parents of abandoned baby in Houston being sought

To date, I see nothing to suggest the child’s parents have been identified. If they are found, the mother at least may face felony charges.

We can only hope she’s alright after having given birth in secret. Odds are, we’ll simply never know.

None of these three cases represent good outcomes for either the women or their children.

As I wrote in Emily Portellos, crimes against “women’s essentialist nature,” and the pointlessness of imprisonment:

…we as a society need to do better by them.

One Response to “Mississippi 2010 “safe haven”/legalized child abandonment law failures to date”

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