Pregnancy E-Magazine, February 2013

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The Pros and Cons of Safe Haven Laws

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.

Pros -

  • Potentially less children being neglected, abandoned, or discarded.
  • Parents don't have to fear legal punishment if they don't want their children, making them more likely to use the safe haven laws instead of abandonment or neglect.
  • Protects newborns and young children from harm.
  • Allows these children to be adopted by those who have been waiting for their forever families.

Cons -

  • Children may not have record of or access to a social security number, medical history, a name, or even a birth date.
  • It takes the personal responsibility out of the situation.
  • Only one parent has to drop off a child, meaning that a father or mother may not even know or consent to the abandonment.
  • The foster care program is already inundated, and more children can completely overwhelm the system, and the children may be inadequately cared for anyway.
  • These laws can, will, and have been misused and abused. It was widely reported how a father left several of his children at a safe haven drop-off point, one of which was over the age of fifteen.

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.

Hoping to Adopt
Judi & Star We want to thank you from the bottom of hearts for taking the time to learn a little about us: Our life, our love and our deep desire to have a baby. [more]
Frank & Lorraine This is probably one of the most stressful times in your life & for that we are so sorry. We dont have to know you to know that you are an incredible person for even considering an adoption plan for your child and we hope we can make it easier for you. [more]
Dylan & Amber Hi! We are really thankful that you'd take some time to get to know us! We are a really fun, laid back, joyful couple who are really excited about becoming parents. We admire you more than you know, and pray for peace and strength daily. You are loved! [more]
Mindy & Loving mom waiting for more love, laughter, chaos and messes to fill her home! The sound of children's voices and the pitter patter of little feet, fill my heart with gladness and make my life complete. [more]

The information and links displayed above relate to profile posting services provided on the web site, which is a service of Adoption Profiles, L.L.C., who sponsors this section and is solely responsible for its content.

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Pregnancy Community, News & Events

Pregnancy Tip of the Month

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.

In Your Words

"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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