The doorbell rang just before 8 pm on Saturday night. A baby in a duffel bag lay on the front step of a complex manager’s apartment. Abandoned by its mother, is believed to be between four and six days old.
Authorities have launched a search for the mother of the abandoned infant, a newborn baby girl. The infant was found swaddled in a blanket and set inside a duffel bag at an apartment complex in Tucson, Arizona, according to The Daily Mail. Medical staff have examined the infant and stated that she appears to be healthy. She has been placed in Child Protective Services.
The apartment complex manager told police that he heard the doorbell ring, but when he answered the door, no one was there.
While doctors claim that the baby is in “good condition,” police say that the mother’s decision to drop her off on someone’s doorstep was too risky. Police note that the mother – or whomever left the baby in the duffel bag – should have brought her to a worker at Baby Safe Haven or a hospital. Both are places where you can “desert your child with no questions asked.” The Stir suggests that “even facing someone during that moment could be too intimidating for a woman on the verge of such a social taboo.”
While dropping a child off on someone’s doorstep is not ideal, there are “too many cases where people have their kids living in dangerous and/or deadly environments.” The Stir’s Erika Sóuter defends the mother’s actions, claiming:
“Children suffer through inhumane conditions every single day in this country. And how many times have we read about some young girl who gave birth and threw her baby in a garbage can? This mother likely did the best she could to get her daughter to a safe place. Was it ideal? No. But it was courageous. She wanted to give her baby something better than she could offer at this moment and I applaud her for that.”
Authorities maintain that the best option would have been to bring the infant to an agency bearing the “Safe Baby” log. State law dictates that any infant under 72 hours old may be handed off at one of these agencies with no questions asked. The agencies find safe homes for infants. Vicki Began describes the purpose of “Safe Baby” programs: “[The mother] would bring her baby, and the most important thing is she needs to hand her baby to somebody. We want the baby not to be exposed to any element, no heat or cold and also the baby needs nutrition.”
Mothers are also given the opportunity to give staff the child’s medical history.
Police are currently searching for the mother “in case she is in need of medical attention or other services and are appealing to members of the public over her identity.”
Safe-haven laws are in effect so that no mother will be legally prosecuted for handing over their infants, who then become wards of the state.