Dear Friends and Neighbors,
In honor of the second annual Safe Havens Awareness Day on April 4th, I would like to take a moment to recognize how far Connecticut has come in regards to providing support for pregnant who have long felt they had no where to turn. I am so proud to have been a part of bringing this lifesaving legislation to life through Safe Havens Day and will continue to promote public education on resources for young women and expectant parents.
This law helps prevent the crime of neonaticide by allowing anyone to drop off a newborn baby within the first 30 days of life at any hospital emergency room in Connecticut. The person dropping off the baby — whether it’s the infant’s mother, father, grandparents or a family friend — will be given a bracelet matching one put on the infant by hospital staff. The police will not be called and no one will be arrested, assuming the infant has not been abused. If the parents change their minds within 30 days, they may petition to get the baby back.
Since its passage in 2000, Connecticut’s Safe Havens law has saved 27 infants from fatal abandonment. Parents, too, have been saved from possible incarceration and a life overshadowed by a moment of panic.
Hospital nurses will ask parents for their name and medical information on themselves and the baby; however, parents are not obligated to provide this information. The Department of Children and Families (DCF) will then obtain custody of the baby and place him/her with a family who is already licensed and intends to adopt the baby – which in some cases may be a relative. After 30 days, the biological parents’ parental rights will be terminated.
Though our efforts to raise awareness have saved the lives of many, a baby’s life was lost to a distressed parent as recently as this very month. We hope that continuing to spread the word will remind pregnant women, each year, that they have options to take without fear of persecution and/or prosecution of abandonment, which saves two precious lives in the process. Understanding the law, how it works, and sharing this knowledge with others is how together we can make a difference and let parents know they are NOT alone and that there are caring individuals out there who want to help them.
Look for this sign at your local hospital
34th Assembly District
Please feel free to contact me at Melissa.Ziobron@housegop.ct.