Web posted Sunday, March 17, 2002
Editorial: 'Safe haven' law works in Texas
An unidentified man walked into a Massachusetts hospital in February at 3 a.m., handed a baby girl to a nurse and abruptly left.
This was an unwanted child, and rather than resort to possibly tragic measures, the man thought what he was doing was legal.
It is not legal in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts law-enforcement personnel are now seeking the man on charges of child abandonment.
A 20-year-old Midland woman was arrested earlier this month on charges of killing her newborn baby when the baby's body was discovered near a pile of trash in the woman's garage.
Neither of these disturbing acts had to happen.
Texas has taken the lead to make sure these tragedies are prevented.
What is unfortunate is that more states do not follow Texas' lead, and that even in the Lone Star State, segments of the general public are not educated as to "safe haven" legislation.
In order for "safe haven" laws to be effective and accomplish the objective of saving lives, states must adopt legislation allowing individuals to leave babies at hospitals or health- care facilities without fear of prosecution.
These babies usually are placed for adoption.
In addition, states must inform the public when "safe haven" laws are passed and what the specifics are. These goals can be met with public relations campaigns similar to anti-smoking campaigns.
Texas was the first state to adopt "safe haven" legislation in 1999.
Since then, at least 34 states have approved similar laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
"Safe haven" laws will save lives, and possibly prevent horrific decisions like the one that allegedly transpired in Midland.
Not only should more states adopt "safe haven" laws, but information has to be made available to the public, otherwise ignorance of the law could result in criminal prosecution, as is the case in Massachusetts.
This combination of legislation and information will make "safe haven" laws meet the desired goal of saving innocent lives.
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Safe haven' law works in Texas - Robyn's Nest ~ the parenting network
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