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An FLDS Childbirth in Texas

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An FLDS Childbirth in Texas


I am imagining the birth of a son to Louisa Bradshaw Jessop in Austin, Texas on May 13, 2008.  Since Louisa had been taken into custody, I assume that Texas authorities insisted he be born in a hospital.  Perhaps gauging by her ingénue looks—FLDS women don’t usually wear make-up, and polygamous women often appear younger than their years--Child Protective Services maintained that Louisa was only 15 or 16, and deemed her a child bride.  Louisa insisted that she was 22, and eventually produced a birth certificate to prove it.  Meanwhile, she gave birth in alien circumstances, without the comfort of her parents, her sisterwives, her sisters, and by one (unofficial) account even her husband was denied access. 

One would suspect that hostile forces surrounded mother and infant, if we’re to gauge CPS protocols described in reports filed by Hill Country caseworkers.  Plans to scoop up mother and baby and move them overnight to San Angelo seem particularly insane. (This was thwarted by a writ of habeas corpus filed on behalf of Louisa’s [monogamous] husband Rulan Danial Jessop who is also the baby’s father.) But who on earth would force a mother and child to travel across the state of Texas six hours after giving birth? Surely not those champions of child welfare—Child Protective Services!

I remember something about Herod’s army chasing after Mary and the baby Jesus.  You’d think that God-fearing Christians (as many in Texas claim to be) would think twice about violating the sacred connection between mother and child, especially at the hour of birth.  But what seems to be transpiring in regard to the YFZ custody issue is a head-butting contest between dueling fundamentalist factions—the FLDS leaders and the Texas powers-that-be—with both parties determined to be right.  Who is suffering? Why, the ones who always suffer when fundamentalist patriarchs pull off the gloves: the women, and most of all, the children. 

I’d love to find a means to persuade these people to sit down and work out their differences for the sake of these children whose lives have been irrevocably traumatized.  Can you think of a way this could happen?

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