Nebraska’s Safe Haven Law Has Unintended Consequences

Amy Hendel Health Guide
  • We all know why the safe haven law was passed.  Its intent was to prevent "mother's in trouble" from attempting to harm their newborn because of a desperate feeling that there was no other alternative.  Even with this law having been passed in all states - allowing a person to leave their baby at designated sites with "no questions asked" - we still see alternative, tragic actions and outcomes.  Well here's a scenario I think no one involved in the passing of this law expected.


    This week at two separate times, fathers walked into two different hospitals in Nebraska to abandon their children.  In one case, 9 children between the ages of 1 and 17 were abandoned.  The prior week, a 13 year old girl was left and the week before that two boys ages 11 and 15 were dropped off and abandoned.  In all, six families have abandoned 14 kids including 7 teens because "they were tired of their parenting role." So a bill that was written to protect newborns, some of whom are born because abortion may not be an option, was interpreted in a far more liberal expanse.  And it seems to have opened a can of worms.  Fifty states have "safe haven laws" but they stipulate an intent for a newborn, up to a child under age 1.  The Nebraska law is apparently the worst case scenario of "an unintended consequence" from a law meant to do good.  It allows parents to abandon, in particular, difficult teens - kids who have almost no chance of being adopted or taken into a safe and supportive home environment. And right now, the law remains on the books in Nebraska as is.

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    What do you think?? 


Published On: October 02, 2008