Pennsylvania parents reminded of safe haven law

Pennsylvania’s Department of Public Welfare yesterday reminded expectant and new parents that the State has a “Safe Haven” law which allows them legally and confidentially to ‘turn over’ unwanted infants to any hospital, up to 28 days old, as an alternative to abandonment.

While it sounds a very harsh way of putting things, it’s much kinder to both mother and baby in a situation where they feel they simply cannot keep the child, to be able to hand the baby, unharmed, to a responsible organisation without fear of prosecution.
Spokesperson Estelle B Richman said, “Far too often we learn that a child has been harmed when there are viable options available to parents in need. When a young woman is pregnant and not prepared for the responsibilities of parenthood, often they are afraid and are unsure of where to turn for help. The safe haven program provides a safe, legal and confidential option for them and their child.”

There are nearly 270 hospitals in Pennsylvania where parents may safely surrender their baby if they fear they cannot care for the child, and Pennsylvania is one of 48 states with such a law.

To date, five babies have been saved through this programme.

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