Safe Haven Laws are not Just for Teens

A story about the abandonment an unwanted baby is one of the saddest and heartbreaking stories one can read in the news. While most people think of that the women who leave their children on the side of a road, in a toilet bowl, or even a public restroom are teenage mothers who cannot handle the responsibility of motherhood, a New York Times article has published that the most common factor is the simple desire to hide a pregnancy. The article examines and praises an organization, Save Abandoned Babies Foundation, in Illinois which worked to enact legislation in 2001 regarding abandoned infants which has successfully brought sixty-nine babies to safe places.  The 2001 legislation is a Safe Haven Law: it allows mothers to bring unwanted newborns to firehouses, police stations, and hospitals without fear of prosecution so long as the baby is unharmed and the drop off is within thirty days of the child’s birth.  The Foundation then finds adoptive families to care for the children rather than them being placed in the state foster care system.  Many states have Safe Haven Laws like the one adopted in Illinois.  It is a tragedy that children are still being abandoned and left to die when there are so many places where the child can be taken without repercussion.  In New York, the Abandoned Infant Protection Act serves to provide mothers a safe place to bring the child, give up parental rights without questions asked.  It is a win-win situation; the fearful mother is relieved of the responsibility and the child is given to a loving family who is ready and able to care for the child.

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