An Iowa woman was arrested for child endangerment after she reportedly gave birth in a hospital bathroom and tried to flush her newborn infant down the toilet.
Ashley Hautzenrader, 22, of Iowa City, entered a restroom at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) just before 9:30 p.m. on May 8 and gave birth, the Iowa City Press-Citizen reports.
After delivering the infant, Hautzenrader reportedly believed the child was stillborn because it was not crying. At that point, she tried unsuccessfully to flush the newborn down the toilet and then placed it in a pillowcase and put it in the trash.
Hospital employees found the baby alive a short time later, UIHC spokesman Tom Moore wrote in an email to the Press-Citizen on May 10.
When police questioned Hautzenrader, she admitted to giving birth to the child and putting it in the trash because she thought it had died. She also told police that she hadn't known she was pregnant before the birth.
The woman was arrested on an aggravated misdemeanor charge of child endangerment on May 9; if convicted, she could face up to two years in prison. She was held overnight in the Johnson County Jail before being released around 9:30 a.m. on May 10.
Jail officials said she did not require any medical attention despite having given birth the day before.
Because of patient privacy laws, Moore told the Press-Citizen that he could not reveal the baby's gender or current condition, or how far along Hautzenrader was in her pregnancy when she delivered the infant.
Moore also said he could not release any information about the baby's father.
Hautzenrader had previously given birth to a baby girl in 2014, according to a court record from 2015 in which the woman petitioned the child's father for paternity and child support, the Daily Mail notes. Her daughter reportedly suffers from health issues.
According to Hautzenrader's Facebook page, she currently works at a Toys R Us store.
Although Iowa enacted Safe Haven legislation in 2002 allowing parents to anonymously leave newborns at hospitals and other healthcare facilities without fear of prosecution, only about 20 babies have been safely handed over in the state under this law.