A hospital in St. Louis, Missouri is under suspicion for stealing black babies from their young and poor mothers about 50 years ago, Jezebel reports.
The suspicion arose after 76-year-old Zella Jackson Price reunited with her 50-year-old daughter Melanie Gilmore in April. Price, then 26, gave birth to a baby girl in 1965 at Homer G. Phillips Hospital in St. Louis. Shortly after, she was told that the baby was dead, but was never shown the body of her baby, nor did she receive a birth or death certificate.
Meanwhile, Gilmore was put into foster care. She said that her foster parents had always said that her birth mother gave her up for adoption, according to AP.
After the video of their reunion became viral, a number of women in St. Louis came forward with similar stories. These women are all black and were poor and young at the time when they gave birth at Homer G. Phillips Hospital, which had been closed in 1979 and became a senior living apartment in 2003. The mothers said that the nurses at the hospital told them that their baby had died but never gave them birth or death certificates, in violation of “normal protocol,” according to the AP.
Price is asking the state to open an investigation. Her attorney said in a letter to Missouri governor Jay Nixon that he suspected the “hospital coordinated a scheme ‘to steal newborns of color for marketing in private adoption transactions.’” He also said he will file a lawsuit on behalf of the women to get state-issued birth and death certificates.
Watch the reunion video on USA Today below.