Bill filed would allow babies up to 12-months-old to be surrendered, mothers wouldn’t be prosecuted

Advocates of the Baby Moses Law believe bill will decrease child abuse, neglect

SAN ANTONIO – Texas was the first state in the nation to enact a Baby Moses Law allowing mothers to safely surrender their babies at hospitals, fire stations and police stations, without penalty.

Now, advocates say Texas needs to follow other states like North Dakota and Missouri that have extended their laws, allowing mothers to surrender babies up to 12 months.

Advocates are celebrating new legislation that was just filed in the Texas house.

“In 2011, we got a call for a baby and we were told she had been left at a fire station,” said Laurie Cobb, who adopted a Baby Moses baby nine years ago.

Bella, now nine years old, had been safely surrendered as part of the Baby Moses Law.

“I think about how blessed I am and how some kids don’t even have homes and I’m just glad I’m here with these two wonderful parents,” Bella said.

The Baby Moses Law in Texas allows babies up to two months to be surrendered at police and fire stations, hospitals and libraries, but a new law reflects the years-long fight to raise that age to one year.

“We are being inundated with the ages of the babies that are being abused in San Antonio and the ages are past two,” said long-time advocate Pamela Allen who also runs a separate nonprofit called Eagles Flight Advocacy.

Allen is working hand in hand with State Representative Ina Minjarez, who just filed House Bill 683 to extend the age to 12 months and ensure mothers won’t be prosecuted.

“Now that the newness has worn off, becoming aware they can’t support this baby. That’s when it becomes a neglect situation, an abuse situation,” Allen said. “Will she be prosecuted? Where can she leave this baby, now it’s past the point of 60 days?”

She said this is even more crucial during a pandemic where domestic violence and child abuse has skyrocketed.

“Giving them a little more time to make that decision. Kids need stability and they need that love,” said Bella’s adoptive dad Jason.

“She’s doing amazing, just putting her in the right environment,” Laurie said.

The Cobbs want people to see a future for children like Bella that is bright, limitless, and full of love.

Related: Advocates want to extend age of babies allowed to be surrendered under Baby Moses law

About the Author

Courtney Friedman anchors KSAT’s weekend evening shows and reports during the week. Her ongoing Loving in Fear series confronts Bexar County’s domestic violence epidemic. She joined KSAT in 2014 and is proud to call the SA and South Texas community home. She came to San Antonio from KYTX CBS 19 in Tyler, where she also anchored & reported.

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