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Safe haven laws, also known as baby Moses laws, allow parents to leave their children at a local police department, hospital, or fire department without any questions asked or charges filed against them. Parents can just walk away and their names won't even be asked for. Some states even sever parental rights along with this act. Parents can now act in total anonymity. Those children will then be available for adoption, but those that aren't immediately adopted will be placed into the foster care system. The whole motivation behind enacting safe haven laws across the United States is to limit the number of babies and children left abandoned or neglected. However, there is both a negative and positive side to the modern safe haven laws.
Texas was the first state to enact a safe haven law, and that was back in 1999. One of the biggest debacles with safe haven laws was in Nebraska. Nebraska defined an eligible child as anyone under the age of 18. As mentioned in the cons, parents took advantage of this gap and dropped off children and teenagers that they had parented for years and years, which defeats the whole purpose of the safe haven laws. In just four months, a reported 35 non-infant children, which included teenagers, were dropped off at hospitals, firehouses, and police stations. Thankfully, Nebraska updated their safe haven laws in 2008 to classify eligible safe haven children as thirty days old or younger.
As of 2008, all states have some sort of safe haven laws currently in place, and each state's laws are different, including the age of an eligible child. There are just as many critics of safe haven laws as there are supporters. Some believe, however, that these laws were based on good intentions, but it just might not be the best way to execute those good intentions. But that classification is up to you.
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Before you deliver your baby, make sure you have a birthing plan in place. If you don't have a birthing plan, you should at least know if you want an epidural, would prefer a c-section or natural birth, and who you want in the delivery room with you. Deciding well in advance will save you the stress in an already stressful situation.
"I have been thinking a lot about finding out how to reunite with my baby girl that I placed. I am not ashamed, but I am broken and want to be able to tell her that I love her. It may seem as though I didn't, although my decision was to make things better for her life than what I was able and/or how I had been raised. I see these young girls now 15, 16 and pregnant, and they have no worries in the world. I was afraid then and I only wish that if it was now that I would have taken on those responsibilities with no hesitations." - Lynn
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