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Safe Abandonment

Safe Abandonment. By: Amanda T Erikka A Nicolle B . What is Safe Abandonment?. Dropping a newborn/infant off at a Safe Haven after concealing pregnancy and birth. Also, now allowing the disposition of the infant to be concealed. No question asked. Varies from state to state. .

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Safe Abandonment

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  1. Safe Abandonment By: Amanda T Erikka A Nicolle B

  2. What is Safe Abandonment? • Dropping a newborn/infant off at a Safe Haven after concealing pregnancy and birth. • Also, now allowing the disposition of the infant to be concealed. • No question asked. • Varies from state to state.

  3. What do Safe Haven Laws Attempt to do ? First and foremost More specifically • Safe Haven Laws attempt to save the lives of newborns whose mothers have concealed their pregnancy, given birth alone, and planned on discarding them in a hazardous location. Safe Haven Laws attempt to… • Protect a baby’s physical well-being • Spare from the life-threatening risks of abandonment • Receive medical care, if needed • Long-term security by potential adoption

  4. Names of Safe Haven Laws • Safe Haven • Safe Place • Baby Moses Laws • Safe Arms for Newborns • Safe Delivery • Safe Surrender • A Secret Safe Place for Newborns

  5. History of Safe Havens in Europe Infanticides in Europe Foundling Home System • This began in the 13th century. • Young, unwed pregnant women would turn to infanticide to end the pregnancy. • “By the 18th century, the sight of infant corpses lying in ditches, on garbage heaps, and in sewer drains was familiar throughout Europe.” (Columbia Law Review) • The Foundling Home System was created by Catholic churches. • It was a spinning cradle outside of the church that allowed a mother who didn’t want her child to leave it in the cradle. • The foundling homes were mainly created to save the infants souls.

  6. The Beginning of Safe Haven Laws Texas 1999 General • First state to create and enact a Safe Haven Law. • Anonymously and legally relinquish newborn infants to emergency medical service providers . • Purpose: Prevent injuries and deaths to newborn children that are caused by a mother and to abandon the child to proper authorities. • By 2008, the last state to adopt the Safe Haven Law was Nebraska. • Mid 19th century: In Madrid, Dublin, and Warsaw up to 1/5 of babies were being abandoned, Milan 1/3, Prague 2/5, Vienna ½.

  7. Safe Haven Laws in the Midwest Minnesota Wisconsin • Infant must be 72hours or younger. • Mother or a person with the mother’s approval may give up the infant. • Only an employee at a licensed hospital may take the child. • Local social service agency may take custody of the infant and does not have to attempt to reunify the child with parents. • Identification bracelets • Infant must be 72hours or younger. • Parent must give up the infant • Havens: • Law enforcement officer, EMS technician, Hospital staff member, Sheriff’s office, Police station, Fire station. • Court may grant involuntary termination of parental rights.

  8. Requirements for Safe Havens • Usually a 30-day limit for infants to be considered under the Safe Haven Laws--depending per state • Infants cannot be abused or appear to be abused. • It must be a concealed pregnancy. • The mother must have given birth alone. This mostly concerns help from medical staff.

  9. Incentives of Safe Havens Anonymity Immunity • Provides secrecy and shields the facts about the mother, her pregnancy, birth, and abandonment. • Many may argue a confidential adoption instead, but no adoption is completely confidential. • Therefore, the mother would rather choose an option that is truly anonymous. • The Safe Havens believe after the relinquishment of the newborn the mother has not committed a crime and has done nothing wrong. • No Shame. No Blame. No Names. • However, many states make it obvious relinquishment isn’t always acceptable.

  10. Locations • Hospitals • Fire Stations • Police stations • Campus police • Housing police • Community police substations • Pregnancy crisis center • Catholic Church—designated per state

  11. Reasons • Desperate • Experiences of abandonment in her past • Shame, guilt, and question acceptance • Incapable of loving the child • Alternative to abortion • Remove the newborn from a harmful environment • Distress from hidden pregnancy and birth

  12. Consequences of Abandonment Parent/Parents Child • The parent/parents will never be able to have parental rights of that child again. • May encounter physical and emotional pain after making the decision. • Those states that give identifying bracelets or tokens does not mean that they will get the child back. • The child will never know his/her biological family which could cause physical and emotional pain. • Never knowing their genetics or biology

  13. Criticisms of Safe Haven Laws • Do people even know about theses laws? • Is there enough publicity? • How do we know mothers will even take advantage of these laws? • Does the government need to pay more attention to other needs? • What is the fine print of Safe Haven Laws? • The child may have no chance to know about his/her origins. • The birth mother has no counseling or time for reflection. • The birth father may know nothing of the child or placement . • Are these laws promoting irresponsibility?

  14. Criticisms of Safe Haven Laws • Parents of abandoned infants cannot receive notice of rights of termination. • Parental consent is not available. • Presumption of abandonment and termination of parental rights. • Adoption laws have mandatory waiting periods and grace periods that conflict with the Safe Haven Laws. • Safe Haven Laws don’t target the abandonment problem as precisely as they should.

  15. Criticisms & Responses for Texas Safe Haven Laws Mechanical Criticisms of 1st round of Safe Haven Legislation In response to Mechanical Criticisms • “False Advertising” • Designation of Emergency Medical Service Providers. • Infringe rights of child and father • Elimination Father-Child relationship • Kidnapping crimes • House Bill 706 was created • Stated objective: “protection for a newborn by expanding permanency placement with a designated emergency infant care provider, which includes an emergency medical care provider, hospital, or a licensed child-placing agency, and [increase] protection for mothers who choose a responsible alternative to newborn abandonment.” (Texas Journal of Women and the Law)

  16. Texas House Bill 706 Benefits • Elimination of “false advertising” • No longer a positive defense for prosecution; they are exempt from prosecution • Defines legal duties and limits liability • The provider has no legal duty to determine parent’s identity unless the child looks to have been abused • Abandoning parent is provided with a voluntary form for disclosure to medical and genetic information • Provider isn’t liable for damages relating to the treatment of the child

  17. Texas House Bill 706 Benefits • DPS is required, “immediately after assuming care, custody and control of the child, to report the child to appropriate state and local law enforcement agencies as a potential missing child.” • Within 45 days after DPS takes possession the mother can prove she is biological mother and can ask court to return child. • Simplified termination process for parents wanting to adopt • If no one steps forward then parental rights are terminated. • Kidnapping: • Because the DPS has all of these notifications is place, parents usually turn to officials, this becomes easy to place child with parents again.

  18. Are the Safe Haven Laws even working? • Legislator believes that Safe Havens are working if they have saved one child from infanticide. • So in that case, YES Safe Havens are working • No Proof • Depending on what people decide is working. So, do you believe Safe Haven Laws are working?

  19. Questions Unanswered Discussion • Is it worth it? • How will the EMS Providers know that it is the mother who is actually abandoning the child? • Do you think a woman who is abandoning her child will wait to see if the EMS Providers will take the child? • Is it worth it? • How do you feel about Safe Havens? • Do you think the mothers who abandon their babies are truthful? • Do you agree with the identification bracelet idea? • How would you feel being the mother/father or infant?

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