Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Making it safer to abandon babies

Here is an essay by a student describing the policy that allows parents to drop of an unwanted baby in a safe place. 

There are many women in the world who are having unplanned and unwanted pregnancies. When these women do not want their babies they have options that they can consider. Their options range from giving the baby up for adoption, terminating the pregnancy, or dropping their baby off at a Safe Haven location in their state. The National Safe Haven Alliance has worked hard to have laws across the United States that promote the safety of newborn babies. They work to prevent the abandonment of newborns. The women that are abandoning their newborns are not always leaving their babies in a safe place for someone to find. A lot of the time these women are leaving their children in very unsafe places such as the garbage or in alley ways. It is important that any newborn receive the love and care of a parent and there are many children who missed out because their mothers were scared or careless. A lot of the newborns that are abandoned do not even get to ever know what love feels like because the conditions they were left in were not acceptable. The NSHA helped in the creation of baby abandonment laws that are also known as “Baby Safe Haven” laws to help prevent newborns from being neglected or harmed. The Baby Safe Haven laws removes the possibility of prosecution from the mother or father as long as they give up their baby unharmed and are given to the proper authorities. The baby safe haven laws vary from state to state in the United States. In all states the safe haven law allows a baby to dropped off as long as the baby is unharmed. The age of the baby and where they can be dropped off at is what varies from state to state. The youngest the baby can only be is up to 3 days old which the law for a few states. The oldest is in the state of North Dakota that the baby can be up to 1 year old. Here in Illinois, the baby can be up to 30 days old and can be dropped off at any hospital, police department, fire station or emergency medical services provider. In the year of 1999 in the state of Texas the first baby safe haven law was enacted. Almost two decades later every state in the United States have passed a safe haven law. This law has done great things and has saved many lives. Our neighboring state, Indiana has recently added an extension of the law and will now have baby boxes for mothers to leave their babies. These boxes will hopefully save many more newborn lives. I imagine that mothers become very anxious and scared of being judged when walking into a hospital or a fire department with an infant they cannot keep, but I feel like the baby boxes will give mothers a more private area to surrender their baby, where they do not have to deal with those feelings. According to Safe Haven Baby Boxes, “As of 2016, 3,153 infants have been safely surrendered to Safe Havens locations nationwide”. I feel like if the baby boxes work, then they should be implemented in every state. It is very important that we have laws like the baby safe haven law so that we are saving lives and helping mothers.

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