Texas Couple Demands Return of Newborn Taken Away by Authorities Because They Wanted to Treat Child at Home

by Xara Aziz
YouTube via The Afiya Center

A Dallas couple is fighting back against authorities who have taken their newborn away after opting to treat their newborn daughter’s case of jaundice at home rather than at a hospital.

It was in late March when Temecia and Rodney Jackson brought their daughter Mila Jackson into the world through the help of their midwife Cheryl Edinbyrd, who delivered the baby at the couple’s home.

Two weeks later, the Jacksons scheduled a visit to the infant’s pediatrician who discovered that the child had been diagnosed with jaundice, the yellow color seen in the skin of many newborns and usually clears on its own.

The pediatrician, Dr. Anand Bhatt, recommended that the child be taken to the hospital for phototherapy treatment, but the Jacksons decided to have the same procedure done at home with the help of their midwife. According to a WFAA report, Dr. Bhatt continuously called the couple to have the baby brought to the hospital but the couple did not return his calls, so he called the authorities.

 “Parents are very loving and they care dearly about their baby,” Dr. Bhatt wrote about the couple. “Their distrust for medical care and guidance has led them to make a decision for the baby to refuse a simple treatment that can prevent brain damage.” 

Days after Dr. Bhatt contacted the law enforcement personnel, Dallas police officers and agents with the Dallas Child Protective Services visited their home at around 5am to inform the Jacksons that they had to turn Mila over. The parents refused and the authorities left but came back hours later stating that the daughter was in the legal custody of Dallas CPS and they had to turn her over. It was then that they contacted their midwife to intervene.

“Our midwife then reached out to the pediatrician, just letting him know that he had traumatized us, that we were woken up by police banging our door at 4am, 5am. Then after she gave him all the credentials he’d requested from her, he pretty much said he was going to leave our care and our midwife teams,” Temecia Jackson said.

As of Thursday, Mila still remains in the custody of Dallas Child Protective Services. The case has caused an uproar in the Dallas community with several organizations, including the Black-women-led birth and reproductive justice organization The Afiya Center to step in demanding justice. A court hearing to get the Jacksons’ baby back was scheduled for Thursday but the hearing has since been postponed to April 20.

“This child was being nurtured. This child was being supported. And this child was being loved. And this child was kidnapped,” Edinbyrd told Jezebel. “Mila needs to be returned home.”

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