Thursday, April 19, 2007

UN-SAFE HAVENS II: Legalized Abandonment


“It's just another way of disrespecting, de-valuing human life. They're not looking at the real problem, and the problem is that life is not valued. To tell a 16-year old that you can drop your baby off with no accountability, no responsibility, doesn't value, doesn't send a message that that teen is supposed to value human life.” Cathy Brown, Director, Why Life? 700 Club, Christian Broadcasting Network, August 21, 2001

Safe Havens, in fact, undermine pro-life
Safe Havens are promoted by the pro-life community as a way to preserve life and stop newborn abandonment. Instead, they exploit vulnerable women and undermine the long-standing pro-life core principles of informed consent, parental notification, and quality child and mother healthcare. Safe Haven laws with their “no name, no shame, no blame” promotion encourage women to keep their pregnancies secret, forgo pre-natal care, informed counseling, and family communication. They encourage women to give secret, dangerous, unassisted birth that can harm and even kill mother and child. If both survive, new mothers—or anyone else-- can drop off their babies at Safe Haven locations with no questions asked.

Safe Haven abandonment is unnecessary
Safe Havens appear to be driven by economic post-welfare reform. Evidence suggests that mothers who use Safe Havens have no murderous intent towards their newborns or even that babies are being “saved.” Instead it appears that women abandoning through Safe Havens are simply unaware of available public and private services that can assist them in making healthy, safe plans for themselves and their children—including ethical traditional surrender and adoption plans. Safe Havens ignore older children abused and murdered by their parents or foster care providers.

Beyond Pro-Life is…

Families deserve better
Women and their families in crisis pregnancies need education; objective ethical counseling; information on referral agencies; prenatal and delivery care; job training, housing, and day care assistance--all resources and options available to them--not help to abandon their babies.

PRO-FAMILY, the most compassionate, sane, and cost-effective choice for mothers and babies is the most ignored, least discussed, choice when speaking of or to single mothers.

“ADOPTION NOT ABORTION” programs put women in crisis between the devil and the deep blue sea, often neglecting the offer of the support she needs to keep her fledgling family together. Unplanned or unintended pregnancy does not mean unwanted. The vast majority of us, older than 30, were the result of unplanned pregnancies!

Safe Havens = Legalized Abandonment

The women who would have put their kids in a Dumpster are still doing it” despite Safe Haven legislation." Adam Pertman, Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute

Safe haven legislation, while well intentioned, has been shown to cause more harm than intended to prevent, and are contrary to ethical public policy about reproductive freedom the pro-life community has promoted for years. Such programs:

* allow anyone to abandon a baby other than the mother and/or father.
* do not provide waiting periods, counseling or option and resources referrals to families in crisis.
* do not require the same parental notification pro-lifers have promoted for years.
* encourage young women to forgo prenatal care resulting in dramatically higher infant and maternal mortality rates.
* encourage the exploitation of women by the adoption industry that abortion clinics encourage in family planning.
* discourage the creation of families and ignore the rights of fathers.
* abandonments increasingly appear to be driven by economics post welfare reform.

Families in crisis need education; objective ethical counseling; information on all resources, referral agencies and options; prenatal and delivery care; job training, housing, and day care assistance – not help in abandoning all, along with their babies.

When people are found in the process of jumping off a bridge, they are not simply allowed to take their lives in a moment of extreme stress or depression. When they are talked down, they are not left to simply walk away. They are taken to a hospital for help. So-called safe havens are not providing a safe, ethical, morally acceptable solution for mothers, who in a state of — perhaps temporary — desperation bring their babies there or elsewhere. Many experts agree with Adam Pertman’s assessment that: “These laws are persuading women who wouldn’t have abandoned their babies in any form to do so” and the statistics support his claim.

A far more humane approach would be a haven that is truly safe for both mother and child. Mothers should be allowed to leave children at such locations to be placed in temporary custody while efforts are made to offer her—and other family members—time and counseling to gather resources and think out the decision carefully.

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