A St. Louis-area woman was convicted of manslaughter Friday for neglecting her newborn twins after she gave birth to them in a bathroom at home.
The AP reports Maya Caston, 28, of St. Louis County, Missouri, initially told police that her twins were stillborn, but she later admitted that was not true. According to Fox 2 Now, authorities said Caston gave birth to a boy and a girl in January 2020, and both were born alive and left to die without food or medical care.
During the trial, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Thomas Dittmeier said Caston did not want her twins and pointed to evidence of her searching the internet for “cheap abortion pills,” “free abortion clinic” and “can you cause a miscarriage if you hit yourself in the stomach hard enough?”
“She didn’t care for them. She didn’t even give them a name,” Dittmeier told the jury, according to the AP.
Attorneys for Caston said she has an intellectual disability and did not understand how to care for her children properly. A mother of four, they said she receives help caring for her older children, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
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In her testimony, Caston said she was going to make an adoption plan for the twins, but they died because they would not eat when she tried to feed them, according to the report.
However, prosecutors said she did not take the babies to the hospital or a doctor and did not call authorities until after they were dead, according to testimony from the trial.
Here’s more from the report:
Caston testified that she hid her pregnancy because she was scared of being kicked out of the home in the 2100 block of Roundtree Drive where she was living with the man who fathered the twins and two of her four older children. The home was rented by the man’s mother, who also lived there.
“I was scared,” Caston said.
However, Dittmeier said Caston knew better than to neglect the twins.
“She knew it was wrong,” he said. “Which is why she concocted they were stillborn. It’s a sad situation, but it’s still murder.”
Infanticide and infant abandonment are problems across the world.
Like abortion, infanticide destroys the life of a unique and valuable child who is fully dependent on his/her parents to survive. The pro-life movement works to protect newborns from infanticide as well as abortion by supporting safe haven laws, adoption and resources to help pregnant and parenting families.
All 50 states have safe haven laws that allow mothers to safely surrender their newborns to authorities, often at a police station or hospital, without repercussions as long as the infant is unharmed. Typically, laws allow safe surrender within a certain time limit, such as up to 30 days after the baby’s birth. Indiana and several other states also have heated baby boxes where women can safely surrender newborns.
According to Centers for Disease Control research, “Since 1999, when Texas became the first state to implement Safe Haven Laws, an estimated 4,100 infants have been safely surrendered nationwide.”