News out of Harrisburg today reminds us about the need for Pennsylvania’s Safe Haven Law, also known as the Newborn Protect Act.
According to reports, witnesses saw a woman trying to abandon her child. Thankfully, the baby is reportedly in good health.
To many of us, this story may seem unimaginable. But in reality, women and men in crisis pregnancy may face desperation or extreme anxiety when caring for a newborn. Some may experience domestic abuse or struggle with mental illness. It is impossible to know the despair that might drive a parent to consider abandonment.
That is why spreading the word about Safe Haven laws is so important. Under Pennsylvania law, which was expanded just last year, a parent may leave a newborn baby up to 28 days old in the care of a hospital or police station without being criminally liable. The child can then receive proper medical attention and be referred to the proper children and youth agency, who will find the baby a home and family.
Since the law started, 25 babies have been adopted through the Safe Haven program. However, as this week’s news indicates, not enough people know about Pennsylvania’s Safe Haven law. Please spread the word about this important option for women in crisis.
By Joelle Shea, Director of Outreach