This post begins the first of a series of getting the TRUTH about so-called "safe" haven legislation out onto the internet. Bloggers, etc. please feel free to replicate or link up!!! And please continue to watch these pages over the next several days as I post LOTS of information on this harmful policy.
Safe haven laws are have serious negative consequences and undermine established child-welfare and protection practices. SAFE HAVENS, in fact cause more problems than they solve:
A report by The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute - based on the most extensive research to date on the issue - shows that safe haven laws not only do not solve the problem of unsafe infant abandonment, but actually may encourage women to conceal pregnancies and then abandon infants who otherwise would have been placed for adoption through established legal procedures or been raised by relatives.
Negative Consequences of Safe Havens Include:
- allowing upset family members, disgruntled boyfriends, or others who have no legal rights, to abandon babies without the mothers' consent;
- inducing abandonment by women who otherwise would not have done so because it is perceived as "easier" than receiving counseling;
- depriving biological fathers of their legal right to care for their sons or daughters
- ensuring that the children who are abandoned can never learn their genealogical or medical histories, even when the consequences for their health are dire;
- precluding the possibility of contact and/or the exchange of medical or personal information between birth parents and children in the future; and
- sending a signal, especially to young people, that they do not necessarily have to assume responsibility for their actions and that deserting one's children is acceptable
SAFE HAVENSExcerpted from Riben, Mirah, 2007, The Stork Market: Americas Multi-Billion Dollar Unregulated Adoption Industry pgs 183-8. Advocate Publications.com
“Experts on neonaticide say mothers who kill their newborns are usually young, unmarried, emotionally isolated and often still living with their parents. Some are homeless, drug-addicted, or fearing castigation from their communities. Their denial remains even after the birth, making the baby seem not real. They give birth alone and secretly, usually over a toilet, and kill their babies moments after birth, said Neil S. Kaye, a forensic psychiatrist and assistant professor at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia.
Panicked, alone and often in great pain, few mothers have the wherewithal in the crucial moments after birth to consider safely abandoning their babies, according to Michelle Oberman, a professor at Santa Clara University’s School of Law. .... “Women who commit neonaticide are psychotic, suffering from postpartum psychosis, in extreme denial or have extreme pressure on them from parents or boyfriends,” according to Adam Pertman. “The women who would have put their kids in a Dumpster are still doing it” despite Safe Haven legislation…
“Since 2001, when California enacted its safe haven law, more than one hundred and fifty newborns there have been surrendered safely, but at least one hundred and sixty were illegally abandoned. In the five years before 2001, when North Carolina legalized anonymous abandonment of infants up to a week old, there were ten known cases of babies who were illegally abandoned and died. From 2001 to 2004, nine infants in NC were illegally abandoned and died, while five or six were given up under the safe haven law. Illinois, which extended its safe haven surrender deadline from three days to seven, twenty-seven official legal abandonments since 2001, but forty-four babies were simply abandoned, twenty of whom died.
“Marcia E. Herman-Giddens, University of North Carolina’s School of Public Health, has researched infant abandonment and concluded that social ills such as poverty, abuse, and incest are often behind newborn homicides. Herman-Giddens said, “I’m in no way opposed to [Safe Havens], but it’s very naive to think it will solve the problem.”
Are Safe Haven Laws Necessary and Do They Work?
From Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization
From Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization
- Despite their good intent there is no proof that Safe Havens are needed or that they work. Currently neither the federal government nor the states require statistical tracking of baby abandonments and neonaticides.
- A Lexus-Nexus search of newspapers for 1992 and 1997 commissioned by the Department of Health and Human Services indicates that in 1992 sixty-five infants were found abandoned (fifty-seven live and eight dead) and in 1997 out of 3,880,894 births in the U.S. (including 18,507 neonatal deaths) only 105 newborns were abandoned (seventy-two live and thirty-three dead).
- Safe Haven laws mandate anonymity, so it is nearly impossible to gauge the personal situations of those who relinquish by this method; their state of mind, their fears and their motives. Unlike the "informed consent" clauses of abortion statutes, Safe Haven laws prohibit on-site required counseling, thus denying the parent(s) the opportunity to discuss conventional adoption plans, financial assistance programs and alternative care.
- No serious studies in the U.S. have been made on mothers who abandon or kill their newborns. Evidence suggests, however, that they suffer from a dissociative state in which the pregnancy is denied. Many suffer from substance abuse, mental disability and physical abuse at the hands of family members and boyfriend
- Anecdotal evidence from those who work with at-risk girls and women as well as testimonies of women who have abandoned suggest that "baby dumpers" will not utilize Safe Haven programs.
Parents and Professionals for Family Preservation and Protection
Bastard Nation: Statement on Legalized Abandonment Laws
Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) List and analysis of most of the enacted state Safe Haven legislation
Baby Dumpster Store - Make sure your town is not wthout one!