The story of Mikayla Munn and her baby is tragic and horrific.
The Manchester University student from Elkhart gave birth to a son in a dorm on the college campus. She was apparently alone and the child died. Police say she was lying to others about being pregnant while searching online about what to do and communicating with two men about the child.
She now faces a murder charge for the death of that infant. She faces another felony charge for child neglect causing death.
If what investigators say is true about the evening of March 8 and the events leading up to it, this story is the worst kind. A child died, and a young woman who didn’t want to become a mother is facing a long prison sentence.
The child could have been given up for adoption. Safe haven laws would have allowed Munn to legally abandon the child if she had given birth and she or someone else had taken the boy to a hospital emergency room, fire station or police station in Indiana.
In late April, after the death of this child, Indiana became the first state in the country to have “baby boxes,” receptacles at fire stations in Woodburn and Michigan City. The boxes are legal under the so-called “Baby Moses” laws, but are controversial. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has said that drop-offs facilitate abandonments. Monica Kelsey, who was abandoned when she was 2 hours old, has turned into a volunteer firefighter and anti-abortion advocate. “She’s among those leading the charge to install climate-controlled baby boxes — places for mothers to anonymously deposit their unwanted children,” said a story by Ben Guarino for the Washington Post. She says that the boxes will save children’s lives.
Agencies such as Reason Enough to Act in Elkhart and even Planned Parenthood would have helped Munn. It doesn’t appear she sought help from them. Pregnancy and abortion are hot issues, but somehow in the political arguments, awareness of where help can be found can be lost.
The work of making people aware doesn’t stop for those in the medical community, the faith community or even in families. It doesn’t stop for agencies poised to help.
Munn didn’t have to give birth alone. Others would have been willing to help. Others would have been willing to be there, and her boy would still be alive. She would be able, somehow, to go on with her life as other mothers have for millennia, with or without her child.
The tragedy is that for whatever reason, Munn was alone in a bathroom when she gave birth and her child died. It’s not just her tragedy. It’s ours