NORTH TEXAS (CBSNewsTexas.com) — Hidden in bags, thrown in dumpsters, left out in the cold.and found troubling numbers of mothers choosing to desert their newborns.
According to the state, the number of cases nearly doubled from 12 in 2018, to 22 in 2021.
Women who abandon a baby can face criminal charges. That's what happened to a teen mother just over the Texas-New Mexico border last January, when police charged her with attempted murder after they say she threw her newborn into a dumpster.
But the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services says there is a better way—one that is safe, legal and anonymous.
The "Baby Moses" law allows a mother to legally give up her child at a fire station, hospital, or free-standing emergency room. As long as the baby is less than two months old and is not hurt.
The department says the mother can walk away, no questions asked. "They're not going to try to make you change your mind," said DFPS spokesperson Tiffani Butler. "They're not going to call police."
Texas passed the law in 1999 after a rash of newborn abandonments and deaths. The legislation was hailed as a life saver, but it received no funding for education or promotion—there was no way to buy the "safe baby site" signs that are supposed to be posted.
A longtime Baby Moses advocate told the I-Team last year that the statistics told her "either people have forgotten about the law or they may never have known about the law."
Since the I-Team's first report, the state says abandonments have decreased. Last year, cases fell to 13. So far this year, the number sits at 14. Still, it's too many for the people dedicated to saving each and every baby.
After the original report aired, a Texas company contacted the I-Team offering to produce and ship the "safe baby site" signs for free. Since that time, Buyers Barricades says it has sent out dozens.
for more features.