Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Sav-Baby Inc. Organization Offers Aid to Desperate Pregnant Women

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Sav-Baby Inc. Organization Offers Aid to Desperate Pregnant Women

Article excerpt

Almost five years ago, an elderly woman in Seguin, Texas, noticed a paper bag on her porch swing as she left for church. It was still there when she returned so she asked a young relative to throw it into the trash.

To their astonishment, it contained a baby boy, about four hours old.

"My husband and I adopted that baby," said Donna DeSoto of San Antonio. "We got him when he was five days old."

It was a miracle that little Benjamin was still alive, she added. His umbilical cord had been ripped away. He had been bleeding for hours.

Six months later, cradling Benjamin in her arms, DeSoto attended the burial of an abandoned newborn who was not so lucky, an infant girl had been found dead in a plastic bag thrown onto someone's front yard.

Her older adopted son, Robert, then 4, wanted to help. "His tears fell into the grave," DeSoto recalled. "I could not get that picture out of my mind for weeks - for months."

Something had to be done, she concluded. Using her own money, she organized Sav-Baby Inc. and set up a toll-free hot line, 1-800-SAVBABY, in her own kitchen. She takes calls from desperate young women across the nation who have given birth or are about to.

"We're getting over 180 calls a month right now," she said.

So many that the phone bill is over $1,000 a month with Sav-Baby still operating on a shoestring. In fact, it is $1,500 behind on the phone bill right now. "We have a donated office, but we can't afford phones," DeSoto said.

She has spread the word through newspaper stories, appearances on radio and television shows and donated billboard space. "We were able to get 30 billboards up in Texas for $500," she said. "This is what we want to do throughout the United States."

She even got an appearance on television's Geraldo Show, and its host, Geraldo Rivera, contributed $3,000 of his own money to Sav-Baby, she said.

On Monday, DeSoto was at the hospital at Scott Air Force Base, promoting the Sav-Baby program. On Tuesday, she was off to Miami for treatment of health problems that forced her medical retirement from the Army after three years as a researcher and clinical investigator. …

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