Weirder things have happened...
I'm thinking hard how to phrase this....
I'm an ER nurse, my good friend is a NICU nurse and I hear more terrible stories from NICU than I can think of in ER.
When a child is born that young, it isn't viable. If it were given the best of all medical technology (including that even 10 years from now) it would still become developmentally stunted. There are some parents that will request the whole she-bang, intubation, HFOV, and such for the child because they have so much love in their hearts for this baby but eventually many a parents reach a point down the road where its hard, even for the most caring of parents to love a child who refuses to ever make eye contact, a child who will never speak, a child will be incredibly stunted both mentally and physically- and this is the kind of stunted growth that is beyond a typical MRDD case.
You paint a picture of a mother on the streets with an unexpected pregnancy. That baby, even if it were to live, would never be right. That mother could probably never be expected to take care of it, nor could a family that will never feel the slightest reciprocation from it.
I believe comfort measures should have been in place, but simultaneously if that child truly were 18 or 19 weeks, it may have been best to let it pass as peacefully as possible with whatever baby-dignity it could obtain.
HOWEVER.... other factors might include: maybe it was a very small baby and was greater than 18 weeks. Just a possibility?
A few months ago, I assisted in a 14 week old spontaneous abortion. We took the fetus, which looked like a human gummy bear, swaddled it, placed a crocheted bonnet on its head, and tastefully took pictures of it for mom. We even had a blue candied heart that we spread its tiny fingers on. It was very touching. Sadly, mom was probably still high on whatever drugs she was taking and eventually stormed out of the hospital, then the next day threatened to bring a gun to the hospital to regain possession of the fetal body. Security was on standby and police sent to her residence.
I am told we will keep those pictures on file for 18 years.