A young woman who claims she found a newborn baby in the backyard of her North Philadelphia home this morning was actually the mother of the abandoned child, according to police.
Police were called to the 2900 block of North Bonsall Street around 5:30 a.m. after the woman’s mother told them about the discovery.
The woman told police her 19-year-old daughter had awakened her earlier that morning and told her she heard what she believed to be a baby crying in the back of her home. Both women went to their backyard and found a baby girl wrapped in a sheet.
The responding officers took the baby girl to St. Christopher's Hospital. The girl weighed six pounds and appeared to be in good condition.
Police say the 19-year-old woman who claimed to have discovered the baby was bleeding heavily in the abdominal region. She was taken to Temple University Hospital.
While at Temple, police say the woman admitted that the "abandoned" baby was actually her own child. The woman says she decided to take a bath around 4:30 a.m. on Sunday. While in the bathtub, she says she began to feel pressure and got out to use the toilet. While on the toilet, the woman told police she spotted blood and then realized she had delivered a baby.
The woman says she cut the umbilical cord, got a sheet and wrapped the baby in it. She then took the baby outside, laid her down and then went back inside the house where she woke her mother up and claimed she heard the baby crying in the backyard.
The Special Victims Unit is consulting with the District Attorney's Office to determine if there will be charges filed against the young woman. A decision will not be made until tomorrow.
"It's sad what happened," said Denise Latane, who lives near the woman. "I think she was afraid."
Pennsylvania is one of 49 states that offer mothers safe -- and legal -- alternatives to abandoning their babies. The Safe Haven Law allows parents to relinquish babies at any hospital in the state without fear of criminal prosecution, provided that the child is unharmed.
The law, however, only applies to newborns up to 28 days old.
In most cases, these mothers are unwed, 15 to 25 years old, and the pregnancy is either unwanted or hidden. These women are often alone, afraid, and unaware of the options they have after the baby is born, according to organizers.
"Women in desperate situations make desperate choices," said Jennifer Chantz of Bethany Christian Services.
Chantz's agency recruits families who want to help mothers and families in a crisis situation.
"They've been so blessed," said Chantz. "They want to open up their home. They've got more room at their table and they've got an extra room at their house. They really like to give back and help."