In the last six years, most states have enacted “safe haven” laws allowing adoptions of newborns abandoned within 72 hours of birth at hospitals and police and fire stations by mothers who would not run the risk of prosecution. Illinois’s law, which was due to expire next year, soon will become permanent, reports the Boston Globe. Despite success stories the laws have generated controversy in the six years since states first started enacting them.
Only Vermont, Nebraska, Alaska, and Hawaii do not have safe haven laws. Marley Greiner of an adoption advocacy group called Bastard Nation is fighting the extension of California’s law. Greiner says: “we’re trying to make the point that these laws hurt more than they help by actually encouraging women to abandon their babies.” Melissa Barrigar of Ethica, an adoption advocacy group in Tennessee, says, “Those who are in enough of a crisis to abandon a baby will probably still do so, and they’re not getting the help, the true social services they need.” She testified extending Illinois’s safe haven law.