You read it on the front page of the newspaper or see it on the nightly news…a newborn baby found in a back alley. Teenage parents give birth in a motel room and leave the child for dead in a dumpster. A girl gives birth in a high school bathroom during the prom, throws the baby into the garbage, and returns to the dance floor after touching up her makeup. These stories relate one of the most frightening realities of our culture today: some children are viewed as problems to be thrown away rather than gifts to be treasured.
More recently, the tragedy of baby abandonment has begun to be addressed by state legislatures throughout the nation. A number of states, including Ohio, have passed laws to provide funding, care, and services for abandoned children. These legislative actions have also established ‘safe havens’ – public centers such as fire stations, police stations, and other public areas where women can bring unwanted children rather then leaving them in trash receptacles.
In Ohio, a baby up to 30 days old can be left with an employee on duty at any hospital, emergency medical services provider or law enforcement agency in the state. For more information on the law, click here.
The hope is that, by being offered an alternative to abandonment, women might leave their children with people who can help the baby.