Last week, we told you the heartbreaking story of an infant girl in Texas, removed from her family home when they ignored their pediatrician’s recommendation to admit her to the hospital for jaundice. Now, after spending three weeks in foster care, baby Mila is going home.
In an April 20 news release, the Afiya Center, a Dallas-based birth and reproductive justice organization, announced that the Dallas County’s District Attorney decided to reunite Mila with her parents and two older brothers.
Temecia and Rodney Jackson’s daughter Mila was born at home with the assistance of a midwife on March 21. But at a newborn checkup, the family pediatrician, Dr. Anand Bhatt, discovered the baby had developed jaundice. And while the condition is fairly common among infants, Dr. Bhatt believed Mila’s case was serious enough to require medical intervention.
However, the Jacksons opted to take their midwife’s advice instead and treat the condition at home. A decision that prompted Dr. Bhatt to contact Child Protective Services, and led to Mila’s ultimate removal from her home. At an April 6 press conference, the Jacksons pled their case and called Mila’s removal a kidnapping.
But while Mila is going home, the Afiya Center hopes to shine a spotlight on the racial disparity that exists in the child welfare system and see changes made.
“Mila isn’t the first Black baby to be unjustly ripped away from her family, and she won’t be the last one—unless fundamental changes are made to the child welfare and criminal justice systems,” said D’Andra Willis, Birth Justice Coordinator at The Afiya Center in a statement. “We need people to understand reproductive justice and freedom also means families have a right to choose when and how they want to parent. This includes informed decision making, culturally sensitive care and choosing birth and postpartum support plans that meet their specific needs.”
And the Jackson’s midwife is looking forward to caring for the baby girl she delivered in her home. “I’m just happy that justice prevailed, and I am grateful for the Afiya Center and everyone involved in the return of this baby,” midwife Cheryl Edinbyrd told CBS News. “I look forward to actually giving her her first postpartum visit and celebrating her being home with her parents.”