A Refuge For Throwaways

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    Critics of such new rules, however, argue that they will only increase irresponsibility. Laurie Larson of Project Cuddle, a counseling service for expecting mothers in Costa Mesa, Calif., says the amnesty laws may encourage girls to abandon their babies. For Gwenn Square, the debate is personal. She has never moved far from the ditch in Houston where her mother abandoned her 40 years ago, hoping she might someday look for her. "I suffered all these years with no identity," she says. "I'm an offspring of nobody." The new laws and programs, she says, condone a crime and excuse the mother's behavior.

    Faris bridles at the criticism. "I wish people could see underneath these crosses, and look at the faces of those babies," she says. "Instead of asking, 'Would this [legislation] encourage mothers to break the law?,' they should ask how this could have been different for these babies."

    In Indianapolis last month, a boy wearing an angel necklace and felt diaper was found 200 ft. from the main entrance of Community Hospital. His mother had wrapped him in a bedsheet decorated with tiny balls and bats, then left him near a parked car, facing the door. But he was easy to miss in the snowy weather, until a woman went outside to smoke a cigarette. By then, he was dead. If the law were different in Indiana, the mother could have walked a few steps farther and, without fear of prosecution, delivered the baby into the hands of a nurse. For the infant's funeral, 70 strangers showed up. One of them left a note attached to a bouquet of flowers: "Lord, as You hold this child in Your arms today, please comfort him and tell him we're sorry for not protecting him."

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