Wrongfully Taken: Advocates Host Protest For Texas Parents Whose Newborn Was Taken By Protective Services

Wrongfully Taken: Advocates Host Protest For Texas Parents Whose Newborn Was Taken By Protective Services

Supporters are rallying for the safe return of a baby taken by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

Kara News reports advocates with The Afiya Center, a nonprofit that supports Black reproductive rights, held the protest Thursday afternoon in hopes of convincing the state to give Temecia and Rodney Jackson their newborn child back after being wrongfully taken away.

Jackson gave birth to a baby girl, Mila, in March, under the care of a midwife. Their child was treated at home for a diagnosis of jaundice, but when they brought their daughter in for a routine postpartum hospital visit, their pediatrician reported them to authorities, leading to, according to CBS News, Rodney’s brief arrest and the child being placed in foster care.

Cheryl Edinbyrd, a licensed professional counselor and the couple’s midwife since 2022, said there were no signs of jaundice within the first 24 hours. She also said there were scheduled follow-ups three and five days after Mila was born. The parents of three brought their daughter to Dr. Anand Bhatt’s office for what they described as a “newborn checkup.” “Within that visit, we were told ‘everything is good, she looks great, the only thing is she has jaundice,” Temecia Jackson said during a press conference. “A couple hours later, the pediatrician called my phone and wanted us to admit Mila into the hospital.”

DFPS filed an affidavit saying that Bhatt alerted the authorities on Mar. 25. An investigator spoke with the doctor who said a test run on the baby showed she had bilirubin levels of 21.7 milligrams, raising a cause for concern because it could lead to brain damage.

Jackson admitted that the pediatrician called and texted several times, claiming the family was “going against what he felt like we should do for her child” and warned them he would call DFPS if they didn’t show up to the hospital with Mila. Hours later, DFPS investigator, Brenda Martinez, showed up at the family’s home with two Desoto Police officers, but the family refused to speak to them.

A supervisor instructed Martinez to take custody of Mila “due to her health being in immediate danger of serious long-term consequences.” Court documents show Rodney was charged with one count of possession of drug paraphernalia and one count of preventing the execution of a civil process.