The couple wanted a private home birth for their daughter, Fari Love Jones.
“I started feeling pain at 9 o’clock. She was here at 9:15. There was no time for a doula, midwife or anybody to get there,” Love said. The birth was supposed to be an at home birth, turned into an emergency home birth and paramedics were called after Love experience some complications. Paramedics said the baby was healthy but the family was rushed to the hospital. The couple, once they declined letting doctors perform a blood draw on Fari, things escalated.
“We said no. We prefer our child to be seen by a private physician. Don’t want your services. Reserve the right to deny,” Kayla said. Doctors asked Love if she had hepatitis and a police officer questioned whether Love actually cared about her daughter, asking why she didn’t want to answer the questions. According to California law, all babies born in the state must have the Newborn Screening Test completed, which includes a blood draw. The test can only be refused if it conflict’s with a family’s religious beliefs. The blood is taken from the heel of a baby between 12 and 48 hours of age, and sent to a state-approved lab to be tested for 80 genetic and metabolic disorders. Hepatitis can be transmitted from an infected mother to her child during birth, although chronic infection can be prevented if a baby is treated within 12 hours after birth.
Love was discharged early from the hospital and went home with her family. However, that night police and a social worker came to her door.
“Between 10-15 officers came up in our home, pointing guns at me while I’m holding the baby! Over a health and wellness check, what they claim to be,” Jones said. A concerned neighbor filmed the encounter.
The LA County USC Medical Center released a statement expressing concern over the welfare of the child.
“When there are concerns about the health and welfare of a minor, our medical staff have obligations to report such matters to appropriate social welfare authorities so they can investigate the safety of the home environment,” the statement said.
The couple plans to pursue legal action and believe someone provided the police with keys to their apartment.
“This is predatory. They are just going for people they feel can be a victim. They didn’t know who they were dealing with. We are not letting this slide,” Love said. On July 12, California state Sen. Sydney Kamlager posted on Twitter concering the encounter. “A young Black couple just had a baby at home. LAPD showed up, guns drawn on the father and his newborn baby!” Kamlager wrote, “They were criminalized for giving birth. I am sick of us not being seen as autonomous beings. SICK!!!”