Recently Nebraska and Alaska both passed baby Safe Haven Laws. They were the 49th and 50th states to pass these laws. Now all of the United States has some type of baby Safe Haven Laws. The only area in the United States without Safe Haven laws is the District of Columbia.
In case you are unfamiliar with exactly what baby Safe Haven Laws are, let me explain. According to Wikipedia, Safe Haven Laws are defined as:
The popular name for United States’ laws that decriminalize leaving unharmed infants with statutorily designated private persons so that the child becomes a ward of the state.
In a nutshell, Safe Haven Laws allow a mother to leave her baby in a designated “safe haven” such as a fire department, police station, or hospital without the mother being charged for abandonment. The designated Safe Havens tend to vary a little bit for each state.
Safe Haven Laws were created in 1999 as a means to try to help “baby dumping” where mothers would put their newborns in trash cans, land fills, etc. in order to hide the fact that they were pregnant and gave birth. With Safe Haven laws, the mother can rename anonymous while handing her baby over to the State to later be adopted. In some states, the mother and the baby are both given bracelets with the same number on them and that’s the only thing that links them together.
Just with most things in life, there are pros and cons to Safe Haven Laws. While I am happy about any law that could save the life of a newborn and allow a scared mother to do the right thing, I feel sorry for some of these children when/if they decide they want to try and find their mother later in life. If the mother remains anonymous I think it would be pretty hard, ok pretty much impossible for a child to find his/her biological mother later on in life as discussed in this article.
Then, there is also the lack of medical information about possible medical conditions in the child’s biological family. Although, sometimes I have heard that mothers who use Safe Haven Laws are asked to fill out a medical questionnaire although it’s not required as Safe Haven Laws are usually advertised as a “no questions asked” policy.
For more information about Safe Haven Laws visit the National Safe Haven Alliance.