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Nebraska and the Safe Haven Law - Essay Example
Stung by the abandonments of children as old as 17 under Nebraskas brand-new safe-haven law, the governor and lawmakers agreed Monday to narrow the laws broad wording to protect only the parents of newborns from prosecution. (Nebraska…, 2008)
The Nebraska Safe Haven Law used…
Only infants up to the age of three days can be dropped off at emergency rooms. Until the law goes into effect, Nebraska has teamed up with the United Way to with a help line for overwhelmed parents.
prevent new mothers from feeling so despondent that they harm their own children. Some women do not want children due to age or marriage status. Others do not realize they are pregnant. After the trauma of birth, some women feel no way out. The law was supposed to save these babies. Instead of throwing their child in the trashcan, women had a better alternative of leaving them at a hospital. Most states have a no questions asked policy. Nebraska’s original law has allowed:
At least 18 children, the youngest 22 months and many of them teens, have been abandoned since the law took effect in July. Nebraskas law doesnt define "child," so it has been interpreted to let anyone leave a child up to age 18 at a state-licensed hospital without fear of prosecution for abandonment. (Nebraska…, 2008)
A disadvantage to this new law is the overwhelmed parents of all age children. Parents of teenagers, especially, can become overwhelmed by a child’s behavior. This can lead to child abuse, or even abandonment in unsafe places. The Nebraska law might have helped children of all ages to go into foster care without being exposed to abuse. One father that dropped off more than one child did not plan on dropping off his children, but the mother of the children died. This man had no other options. He loved his children, but just could not care for them. With the new law, a parent like this is stuck in their situation until something bad happens.
Another disadvantage with Nebraska’s new law is the fear inspired. New mothers might be confused or frightened by the new law. New mothers do not think rationally until a couple of weeks after birth. These mothers might not realize their rights until it is too late. ...