Ohio Legislature Approves Bill to Expand Safe Haven Law to Combat Infanticide
by Steven Ertelt
December 10, 2008
Columbus, OH (LifeNews.com) — The Ohio legislature has approved an expansion of existing law that provides a "safe haven" as an alternative to infanticide. The law allows a mother or couple to surrender a newborn to authorities with the hopes that a promise of no prosecution will prevent the baby’s death.
On Tuesday, the Ohio House of Representatives approved a bill, S.B. 304, 90-0 that expands the timeframe for taking a newborn baby to a "safe haven."
Sponsored by pro-life Senator Gary Cates, it increases the timeframe that a parent could voluntarily deliver a newborn to a safe location from 72 hours to 30 days after birth.
The bill also requires the state to develop a plan to educate "at-risk populations" about the bill so potential infanticides can be prevented.
Ohio Right to Life promoted and testified in support of the bill and Mike Gonidakis, the executive director of the pro-life group, says he’s glad it was approved.
"We believe that extending the timeframe when a parent can use the Safe Haven law will help protect babies," he said.
Ohio’s Safe Haven Law provides immunity from criminal prosecution for parental abandonment of a newborn, who has not been abused, to a peace officer, a hospital worker, or an emergency medical service worker. "Safe Haven" laws, which have been adopted in all 50 states, are intended to reduce infanticide and unsafe newborn abandonment.
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services reports that, between April 2001, when Ohio’s Safe Haven law went into effect, and June 30, 2007, 54 babies have been safely surrendered under the law.
The National Council for Adoption reports that over 1,000 newborns have been surrendered under such laws in the U.S. The majority of state Safe Haven laws have timeframes longer than 72 hours.
Ohio Right to Life tells LifeNews.com it expects pro-abortion Governor Ted Strickland to sign the bill.
Related web sites:
Ohio Right to Life – https://ohiolife.org
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