Friday, April 20, 2007

What Experts Say About Safe Havens: Part I

This list, complied by Bastard Nation, is so extensive it will take several posts to put it all up. It is being made available as an education tool; a place to refer/link to; and is free for copying and quoting in letter-writing etc.

This information is being posting here on this blog and also at Parents and Professional for Family Preservation and Protection.

Around The Country and Around The World


"Respect for human life finds an ultimate expression in the bond of love the mother has for her child."
~Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, U.S. Supreme Court

*We’re targeting irresponsible parents. I just think we need to have some safeguards built in. Lisa McGee, Attorney, Arkansas Human Services Department, Conway Log Cabin Democrat, January 12, 2001.

*The bill is primarily intended to provide an alternative to panicked teenagers. In those distressing cases where teenagers hid a baby in a trash can behind the house, or in the bathroom at the school prom, it seem unlikely that a teenager would be willing to step outside the house or the school bathroom and risk being discovered regardless of the criminal nature of the abandonment. Donna S. Herskhowitz, Counsel to the California Assembly Judicial Committee, San Francisco Weekly, May 3-9, 2000

*It’s a mistake to let fear, and a few incidents, drive a child welfare policy. Rep. Dion L. Aroner, California House, San Francisco Weekly, May 3-9, 2000

*[The legislation] is going to elevate abandonment into a new fundamental right. Rep. Mark Pashall (R), Colorado House, Denver Post, March 29, 2000

*This bill just takes us in the wrong direction. It will create moral confusion. Rep. Don Lee ( R), Colorado House, Denver Post, March 29, 2000

*We are creating circumstances that might require a public service campaign, and I don’t want to spend one nickel or one minute teaching how to abandon a baby. Rep. Gloria Leyba (D), Colorado House, (who supported the Colorado proposal with grave reservations.) Denver Post, March 29, 2000

*I'm real uncomfortable with an ad campaign that says, "here's how to abandoned your baby.” Gayle Berry (R) (sponsor of original bill) Colorado House, Denver Post, July 18, 2001

*There’s going to be fathers out there with rights to children who are not going to be notified about these baby dumpings. Lois Frankel (D), Florida House, Palm Beach Sun-Sentinel, April 25, 2000

*Is this the best we can do to save our children? We are fooling ourselves if we think someone who is desperate to get rid o a baby will have the presence of mind to find a fire station. Lois Frankel (D), Florida House, Palm Beach Post, July 7, 2001

*The baby cries, drop it off at the emergency room. The baby is deformed, drop it off at the emergency room. The baby is the wrong gender, drop it off. The baby’s an inconvenience drop it off. Rep. Tracy Stallings, (D), Georgia House, Atlanta Journal Constitution, March 4, 2000

*Women are very vulnerable when they deliver a child. I am concerned that there will be too many people in the wings to push her to give it up for adoption. They may be taken advantage of. Rep. E. Childers, Georgia House, APB News, March 7, 2001

*Abandoning a baby is irresponsible behavior. I believe this legislation basically encourages irresponsible behavior. Sen. Mitch Seabaugh, ( R), Georgia Senate, Athens Banner-Herald, April 1, 2002


*My first reaction to this bill was mixed, but mostly positive. While questioning the need for such a law, I thought to myself, “but if it saves only one life it will be a good law”....However, additional research and lively discussions with people on both sides of the issue have caused me to reassess my initial thinking. In fact, I now believe that any good that might be accomplished by this bill is likely to be outweighed by the harm that it would cause...I believe that our focus should be on the long-term well-being of the newborn, and that safe haven measures like this one fall short in that critically important respect. Experts around the country are increasingly critical of such laws. Gov. Linda Lingle, Statement explaining her veto of Hawaii’s Safe Haven bill, June 20, 2003

*Really ,what this bill did is, it make it OK for people to abandon their children.Gov. Linda Lingle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, August 26, 2003

*There are better alternatives. Rep. Corrine Ching (R-Liliha, Pu’unui), Honolulu Advertiser, March 5, 2004

*We’re suggesting that people leave babies at police and fire stations. We’ve got the ultimate disposable society then, haven’t we? Sen. Ed Pugh (R ) Kansas Senate, Topeka Capital-Journal, April 29, 2000


*There may be other children at home that (perpetrator) may be going back to. (referring to the possible abuse of the abandoned baby) Viola Miller, Secretary, Kentucky Cabinet for Families and Children, Cincinnati Enquirer, January 18, 2001

*I think you're going to get this bill shoved on the floor. We really haven't allowed this concept to mature quite yet. There are many unanswered questions. Del. Anthony J. O'Donnell ( R), Maryland House, Baltimore Sun, March 10, 2001

*First, we're making it legal to abandon a baby. And there is no provision to notify a father. Children have two parents. Del. Joseph M. Getty ( R), Maryland House, Baltimore Sun, March 10, 2001

*The idea sounds like apple pie. But what about the parent that's not there? There are two parents to every child. Are you going to do this without some form of due notice? Del. Joseph Vallario (D), Chair, Maryland House Judiciary Committee, Baltimore Sun, February 16, 2001

*There are a lot of things that sound good, but there could be negative consequences I would rather see more education programs at college about pregnancy. We all want to keep babies safe. Rep. Kathleen M. Teahan (D), South Boston Patriot-Ledger, July 31, 2002

*The bill ignores the available support services. If we provide the appropriate support services for children we would be one step closer to making sure that children are not abandoned. Rep. Anne Paulsen (D-Belmont), Providence Journal, November 18, 2003

*It as a nice ring to it, but it seems to offer a simple solution to a complex problem. Spokesperson for Sen. Robert Travaglini, incoming Senate President, Massachusetts Senate, The Daily Tribune, October 31, 2002

*It is the commonwealth actively saying the abandonment of children is OK. This makes the commonwealth complicit in the abandonment of children. Rep. Francis Marini (R ), Massachusetts House, South Boston Patriot-Ledger, July 31,2002

*As a Legislature, we are really good at starting new things and not very good at maintaining things that work well. I don’t want to expand child abandonment by giving young women an easy way out. Rep. Anne Paulsen (D-Belmont), State House News Service, January 14, 2004

*There is a part of me that is just offended by the thought that you can just change your mind and give up your baby. Nora Mann, Arlington Assistant District Attorney, Arlington Advocate, April 21, 2005

*A woman who is in denial of her pregnancy is not thinking about prosecution, and she is not going to bring a baby to a fire station or a police station or a hospital....I think it’s feel-good legislation to make the public think we’ve solved a problem that is so much more complicated. Rep. Kathleen Teahan, (D), Boston Globe, February 15, 2004

*.... An ineffective Band-Aid approach [that] will create a system of legal abandonment.... What about the biological father? He may want to take care of and love that child...there is a need for people to know about their background. Rep. David Sullivan (D-Fall River) Fall River Herald News, February 17, 2004

*This bill would have set social welfare policy back 100 years. This is was a “feel-good” bill that did not attack the roots of the problem of unwanted pregnancies...No statistics have been developed that show that the children who were abandoned illegally would have been saved had a bill been in effect. Rep. Anne Paulsen (D-Belmont), Belmont Citizen-Herald, February 18, 2004

*It’s a feel-good bill that I have a lot of concerns about. We have all of those things (newborn and maternal welfare) already in place. Rep. Kay Kahn, (D-Newton), Newton Tab, March 2, 2004

*This will encourage young parents to hide their pregnancy and drop off their newborn at a nearby fire station, hospital and so forth. So in 2004 we are suggesting that we make abandoning newborn babies legal.... When you advertise how easy it is to hide your pregnancy, you encourage girls to hide their condition and discourage people from putting their arms around them and giving them the support they need. Rep. Anne Paulsen (D-Belmont), House floor debate, State House News Service, March 11, 2004

*If we have extra money to spend in this state, instead of spending it on advertising a new safe haven system, I have a better idea—we should spend it on teen pregnancy prevention and on Adoption Crossroads. Both are severely under funded programs. Rep. Ellen Story, (D-Amherst) House Floor Hour floor debate, State House News Service, March 11, 2004

*In essence, this will be an unfunded mandate. It undermines the biological right of fathers to care for their own children. ....State law already protects parents from prosecution for dropping off their children in places if the baby is unharmed. The so-called safe haven bill won’t protect the baby, it will drain the resources already at risk in Massachusetts. Rep. Kaye Kahn (D-Newton), House floor debate, State House News Service, March 11,2004

*A pamphlet, a billboard is not going to change that [baby abandonment). Do we think that someone who would to that is going to a hospital?....We are not taking into consideration issues about the biological father. What if he wants to take care of the child? There would be no recourse now. In the courts and adoption agencies, the process is slowed because they are concerned about due process for the parents, grandparents, and family members. So you can imagine the confusion about this. What doesn’t a child have? No family health record, hereditary history. Rep. David Sullivan, (D-Fall River) House floor debate, State House News Service, March 11, 2004

*We have safe havens now in the form of hospitals and adoption agencies. Women can drop their babies now, without fear of prosecution. ....This bill sends a terrible message to our kids. No shame, no blame, no name is the message we are sending to our kids. Rep David Torrisi, (D-Lawrence) House floor debate, State House News Service, March 11, 2004

*Evidence from states with “safe haven” laws indicates that more children were abandoned unsafely as a result. The so-called “safe haven” bill won’t protect children in Massachusetts and will drain resources form other effective parent and child support service programs. Rep. Kay Kahn (D-Newton) Newton Tab, March 16, 2004

*It’s potentially dangerous anytime you make it easy for parents to abdicate their responsibility. Paul Morrison, Johnson County District Attorney, Kansas City Star, April 3, 2000


*What if the person who is dropping off the child is not the mother? There are a million ”what ifs’ here. Rep. Charles LaVerdiere (D) New Hampshire House, Foster’s Daily Democrat, April13, 2001

*What if a mother drops off a baby at the hospital and the father is away in the military? That baby could be adopted without the father’s knowledge. Rep. David Bickford (R- New Durham), Foster’s Daily Democrat, February 7, 2003

*This is an anti-adoption bill. We have certain steps that you must go through to relinquish rights to your child and this bill eliminates those steps. Rep. Janet Allen (R – Barnstead), Foster’s Daily Democrat, February 7, 2003

*We’re sending the wrong message. Go out there, reproduce like rabbits, just be sure to drop them off with someone within 15 days.” Rep. Ronnie Sutton (D), North Carolina House, Greensboro News-Record, March 28, 2001

*There’s no degree of personal responsibility [for parents]. It says “do what you will, get it to anyone or anything and walk away from it. Rep. Gene Arnold ( R) North Carolina House, Greensboro News-Record, March 28, 2001

*We’re literally throwing the baby out with the bath water. There is no degree of responsibility for the person who had the child. I think this bill needs to be referred somewhere.... probably the trashcan. Rep. Gene Arnold (R ) Ashville Citizen-Times News, March 28, 2001

*[What motive do teens have to avoid premarital sex], "if you know there's very little responsibility and there's an easy resolution to your predicament." Sen. Doug White ( R), Ohio Senate, Cincinnati Enquirer, November 9, 2000

*I think it's a poor public policy. I think it sends the wrong message. I think in some ways it can cheapen the value of human life. Rep. Jim Jordan (R), Ohio House, WCHM Channel 4, Columbus, Ohio, November 2, 2000

*It seems to me we're asking an awful easy way out of allowing parents to relinquish responsibility. Ron Young (R ), Ohio House, WCHM Channel 4, Columbus, Ohio, November 2, 2000

*You can never, never, never make something right by legalizing something that is wrong. Rep. Susan Winchester (R ), Oklahoma House, Shawnee News-Star, February 13, 2001

*I think we’re opening up the floodgates for a whole bunch of throwaways. I don’t believe this is the answer. Rep. Mike O’Neal (R), Oklahoma House, Shawnee News-Star, February 13, 2001

*I think it just allows the mother of the child to totally evade her responsibility for her actions I know it’s better than abortion, but I think it is creating almost a right in child abandonment. We are touching the symptoms instead of the real problem and that’s parental responsibility. I just really think we are going down the wrong road. Rep. Rep. Bill Graves, Oklahoma House, The Daily Oklahoman March 21, 2000

*We’re institutionalizing irresponsibility. Rep. Bill Graves, Oklahoma House, Shawnee News Star, April 21, 1001

*It just concerns me we don't do something with prevention to stop young women from coming to this. Sen. Shirley Kitchen (D), Pennsylvania Senate, Philadelphia Inquirer, November 20, 2000

*I would have to assume there is also a father who might not be a bad guy. His baby is missing, and he has no way of knowing where it is. Sen. Ken Albers, South Dakota Senate, Rapid City Journal, January 24, 2001

*What if the father has a summer job in Alaska? He may very well have known his wife was pregnant and that she gave birth. He may not know she gave it away. Sen. Fred Whiting, South Dakota Senate, Rapid City Journal, January 25, 2001

*These are not women likely to walk into a hospital and turn over their children. Jane Chittick, Director, Tennessee Department of Children's Services, Tennessee, February 27, 2001

*However, there is currently no data available to support the need for legislation to address this issue in Tennessee. The Child Fatality Review Team and the Tennessee Children's Justice Task Force should review the incidents and circumstances of abandoned babies and identify the need for legislation, if any, and the provisions that should be included in that legislation. Linda O'Neal, Executive Director, Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth, Tennessean, March 13, 2001

*There are basic principles involved. To allow a person to come in and surrender a child without any requirement as to collecting background information of that child, who the other parent is, that is just unconscionable. Rep. Doug Jackson (D), Tennessee House, Tennessean, March 13, 2001.

*I still have a hard time thinking that people, who are so emotionally in a state of upheaval that they were going to put a child in a dumpster, are going to say "oh, no. The Tennessee legislature gave us a safe haven and I'm going to run it down to the hospital." Sen. Larry Trail (D), Tennessee House, Tennessean, March 13, 2001

*There are just so many unanswered questions. The intentions are great; when I first heard about the concept I thought it was great. But the more you look into it, the more questions there....What would happen, for example, if some disgruntled relative or somebody else grabbed a newborn from a mother in Indiana who did not want to give up the baby and turns it in at a fire station in Tennessee and nobody has asked questions about the child's identity there is no way to trace it back to its parents?" Rep. Joe Fowlkes, (D), Chair Select Committee on Children and Youth, Tennessee General Assembly. Memphis Commercial Appeal, March 15, 2001

*[the bill doesn't solve the problem in that it treats infants like property] to be picked up by the Salvation Army. Sen. David Fowler (R) Tennessee Senate, Memphis Commercial Appeal, May 24, 2001

*I understand that in Germany, they've got drop-in chutes [for babies] like those we have for returning videos. Why don't we just go ahead and establish a drop-in chute here? We will make a situation where people can just drop off babies and go back and make more babies. We're going to say "You can have a baby but you don't you don't have to raise it." Rep. John DeBerry (D) Tennessee House, Memphis Commercial Appeal, May 30, 2001

*What is going to stop some guy who doesn’t want to establish paternity, who doesn’t want to pay child support, who doesn’t want to raise a child to 18 years from saying, “Hey we got a law in Tennessee that says all you do, Betty Jean, is take the baby down there and drop him off. You don’t have to tell who the daddy is or the momma is or the baby’s name. Just leave him and go. How does this make any sense? Rep. John DeBerry (D) Tennessee House, Tennessean, May 30, 2001

*I can imagine some out there saying if it [a newborn] is not pretty, just drop it off. If it's not healthy, just drop it off. I have to speak against this bill because what we propose to do with this is to stretch the boundaries of morality where evil is good and good is evil. House Speaker Pro Tem Lois DeBerry (D), Tennessee House, Memphis Commercial Appeal, May 30, 2001

*What we need to focus our energy on in my opinion is not notifying women how to get rid of their babies after they’ve delivered the baby, but getting to those women ahead of time and explaining to them that there are options available when you do deliver so you can have a normal adoption and collect the information we need and property terminate the rights of the biological parents. Sen. David Fowler ( R), Tennessee Senate,, June 1, 2001

*We’ve had a number of people mention it (safe haven) in passing. Nobody has ever suggested Vermont has a problem in this regard. Rep. Tom Koch (R-Barre), Barre Times/Montpelier Argus, October 18, 2003

*It flies in the face of parental responsibility. We’re now talking about advertising that it’s OK to abandon your baby as long as it’s in the right place and the right time. Sen. Janet D. Howell (D-Reston), Virginia House, Fairfax Journal, January 24, 2002

*We in government should be there to give them options so they just don't come along and say,” this is too much for us, we're going to leave.....I don't care what kind of law you pass, you're still going to have people abandoning babies.” Clyde Ballard (R ), Co-speaker, Washington House of Representatives, Seattle Sunday Times, February 17, 2001

*I understand the importance of saving these babies. I’m also concerned about maybe putting ideas into young women’s head that maybe this is OK. Rep. Ed Orcott (R-Kelso) Washington House, February 13, 2002, KING-TV.

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