Other Views: Incident proves Safe Haven works

Published 7:50 am Wednesday, February 21, 2007

By Staff
When Alabama adopted a Safe Haven law in 2000, it's likely no one in Andalusia, Ala., thought it was a law they'd ever use.
The law allows a mother who has given birth to a child that she does not want to be able to deliver that infant to a hospital or emergency medical services provider within 72 hours of the birth without answering questions and without being charged with the crimes of child abandonment, non-support and endangerment. The law was written to discourage mothers of unwanted children from &#8220dumping” the children in unsafe places or killing the children.
The law is, however, clear in demanding that the infant be delivered unharmed.
Perhaps because a pregnancy is more difficult to hide in a small community, it's a law expected to be used more often in cities like Birmingham and Mobile. However, an incident this weekend proved that it also works in the rural areas of the state.
On Friday, a woman took a baby girl to Andalusia Regional Hospital, handed her to a nurse and said, &#8220Safe haven.” In most circumstances, local law enforcement officers wouldn't have been allowed to ask questions in a &#8220safe haven” case. However, because this baby girl arrived at the hospital with a very low body temperature, no one could be sure that this baby was taken to authorities &#8220unharmed.”
Within hours, an emergency hearing had been held and DHR had custody. The baby was transferred to Pensacola, where she is reportedly healthy.
On Saturday, investigators talked with the mother after receiving a tip from her husband, who suspected his wife was pregnant but had been told she was being treated for a tumor. No charges are expected in the case.
For those who long for a baby, love children, and care about the human condition, this story is difficult to believe. As unimaginable as it may be to some to give up a newborn, without the Safe Haven law, this story could have ended tragically.
All involved are to be commended for their contributions.
The Andalusia Star News

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