Mom's Desperate Plea
She begs to keep her unborn child
By Esther Pessin
Originally published in the New York Post, July 22, 1988
A pregnant mother whose baby is to be taken away at birth because she abused 10 other children tearfully pleaded yesterday for "a little compassion"—and another chance.
"Let me keep my baby!" she begged during an interview from her Westchester motel room.
"I would never hurt the baby. I want someone to love. I love children. I decided to have another baby because all the other children were taken away. I miss them."
The distraught mother, identified only as 34-year-old welfare mother Debbie B., has become the center of a controversial court battle to prevent her from abusing the infant—as she has hurt her other children.
Seven of the 10 children taken from her because she subjected them to physical and emotional abuse were her own, and three were stepchildren. The last was taken four years ago.
Last Friday, a Westchester judge ordered her to give up her baby to county authorities as soon as the child is born.
Women's rights advocates have charged the landmark decision is a frightening invasion of privacy.
But Andrew Vachss, the State-appointed attorney for the unborn baby, exploded in rage after hearing of Debbie's emotional plea.
"[Serial killer] Ted Bundy hasn't killed anyone in four years, but does that mean you should let him out? People want to experiment with this child, [Debbie] hasn't changed. She's chronic."
Vachss, who had represented some of the mother's other children, set this case in motion when he learned she was pregnant again. He went to county child welfare authorities, who asked Family Court Judge Louis Barone to act.
After the child's birth, another hearing will be held to determine custody—and Debbie B. will have an opportunity to regain her parental rights.
Her lawyer, Jeffrey Salant, said he would argue that she be allowed to keep the child, but with live-in help.
On Wednesday she was taken to a hospital with false labor pains. Her due date is August 9, 1988.
Debbie B. told The Post she was beaten so much as a child that she came to think that was the "normal" way to deal with children.
Now, she said, with the help of psychiatrists, she has matured.
"Have a little compassion. Give me a chance," she pleaded. "I want to do good with another baby."
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