Nebraska's "Safe Haven" Law Backfires
Posted by Pile
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|Nebraska's safe haven law was intended to allow parents to hand over an infant anonymously to a hospital without being prosecuted, presumably as a way to be "pro life" and discourage abortions.
Unfortunately things didn't work out the way lawmakers planned. Of the 34 children who have been dropped off at hospitals, officials said, not one has been an infant.
All but six have been older than 10, according to a Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services analysis. Now lawmakers are rushing to change the law while parents are rushing to Nebraska to drop their kids off before the law changes.
Nebraska officials said they're concerned about an apparent rush by parents to drop their teenage children off at hospitals before lawmakers change the state's troubled "safe haven" law.
Four children have been dropped off at Nebraska hospitals in the last two days.
The latest cases came the day before the state Legislature kicked off a special session to add an age limit to the law.
On Thursday, a boy, 14, and his 17-year-old sister were dropped off at an Omaha hospital; the girl ran away from the hospital, officials said. A 5-year-old boy was left by his mother at a different hospital, officials said.
The day before, a father flew in from Miami, Florida, to leave his teenage son at a hospital, officials said.
"Please don't bring your teenager to Nebraska," Gov. Dave Heineman said. "Think of what you are saying. You are saying you no longer support them. You no longer love them." State officials said that because of legislative procedures, it will take at least a week to change the language of the safe haven law, creating a window where more parents could try to take advantage of the loophole in the statute.
"We are ready and prepared that that situation occurs," said Todd Landry of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. "We want people to understand that this is not the right way of getting the service for your child, your teenager or your family."
State Sen. Tom White said lawmakers have been caught off-guard by the number of teenagers taken in under the law.
"What you've seen is an extraordinary cry for help from people all across the country," White said. "Nebraska can't afford to take care of all of them. Nebraska would like to be able to, but they know that we can't, so we are going to have to change the law."
|Posted by thingy on 2008-11-17 14:31:17
|Please for the love of FSM PLEASE tell me that despite this being on CNN, it was originally sourced from the onion.
|Posted by Pile on 2008-11-21 14:24:02
|No... true story. Religious people only care about fetusus. Once they pop out, they're on their own.
It gives new meaning to the term, "You better behave or I'm going to drop you off at the hospital".