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The Story of Unborn Baby B.
Court Orders Baby Be Given Up at Birth

One of society's great failures is a lack of forethought. Protective legislation is almost only ever passed following a disaster, and only then if it's a widely publicized disaster. Why wasn't Megan's Law passed before Megan was killed? Why do we still not have mandatory fingerprint background checks for anyone working with children? In fact, the first documented case of child protection in the US didn't occur until 1874, when an eight-year-old girl was removed from an abusive mother ... under the protection of those laws established to protect animals from abuse.

It is this lack of forethought that makes the Baby B case stand out, for its very grounding is in forethought. It is the exception to the rule. In this case, the court decided in favor of protecting unborn LaToya B. before she was abused by her mother, Debbie B., who had shown a history of abuse toward her seven other children and three step-children. Read the story as it unfolds in the following press clippings from 1988 and '89, and see how NYC government finally catches up in 2008.

"This is a very important case because it establishes that you can prevent child abuse."
—Andrew Vachss
"... courts don't have to wait to protect children in danger of abuse. This was a preemptive strike. We were well aware of the consequences of leaving the child with this person. And she was spared that."
—Andrew Vachss


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