Proponents of safe haven laws argue that laws save lives by encouraging parents to give birth safely and offer an alternative to abortion, infanticide or child abandonment. Critics argue that because shelter laws do not require parents to be stressed, a parent will use the law extensively to avoid notifying the parent who does not give. The laws have also been criticized because in some states, safe harbor laws favor mothers.   North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Safe Surrender (Surrender Newborns Safely), www.ncdhhs.gov/assistance/pregnancy-services/safe-surrender (accessed 14.01.2021). But Gretchen Sisson, a sociologist at Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health, a research program at the University of California, San Francisco, said she`s not sure there will be a significant increase in shelter use now that Roe v. Wade is overthrown. Of course, the purpose of delivering an infant under shelter law is to ensure that the child is safe. To ensure infant safety, Safe Haven providers must be trained and willing to provide temporary custody of an infant, provide immediate medical care (or contact emergency services if they are not in the hospital or with an emergency service provider on duty), and understand the process of communicating with their local Ministry of Children and Family Services (DCFS). The following table lists these different criteria by federal state. After 13 infants were found in disturbing circumstances, including three deaths, Texas passed the nation`s first shelter law in 1999. The law allows new parents to leave infants with staff in certain safe places, such as fire stations or hospitals.  New York Office of Children and Family Services, Abandoned Infant Protection Act, ocfs.ny.gov/programs/safe/ (accessed 14.01.2021).
But the measure lacked funding – proponents didn`t believe the bill could be passed with a price – so third-party proponents tried to spread the word with public service announcements and signs. The promotion of shelters relied on the goodwill of volunteers like Summey, a retired teacher, and her group called Baby Moses Dallas.  Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, Safe Haven for Pennsylvania Newborns, www.dhs.pa.gov/secretsafe/Pages/default.aspx (accessed 1/30/21).  Alaska Department of Health and Human Services, Safe Surrender of Infants Act, dhss.alaska.gov/ocs/Pages/safesurrender/default.aspx (accessed 10.01.2021). Shelter laws (also known as “Baby Moses laws” in some states, referring to religious scriptures) are laws in the United States that decriminalize the abandonment of unsafe infants by legally designated persons, so that the child becomes a ward of the state. Shelter laws are currently in effect throughout the country, as all fifty states have enacted such laws. The U.S. Supreme Court invoked shelter laws when it struck down Roe v. Wade. In his majority opinion, which concluded that there is no constitutional right to abortion, Justice Samuel Alito noted that all states have shelter laws that “generally allow women to give birth anonymously.” During the Supreme Court`s oral reasoning for the case last year, Justice Amy Coney Barrett asked why shelter laws don`t care about the “burdens of parenthood.” Experts say the Safe Haven Act is not. Sufficiently used or known to be a sufficient alternative to abortion. And because it allows parents to abandon their newborns anonymously, experts say, it`s difficult to collect data on why parents make this choice.
They also say it is not clear that the option will be used more in a post-Roe world. But in 2007, an Ohio Common Plea Court ruled that the entire Ohio Abandoned Children Act was void because it violated the Supreme Court`s regulation-making power. In re Baby Boy Doe, 145 Ohio Misc.2d 1, 2007-Ohio-7244. There, the parent had left the child in the hospital and had expressed an intention to leave him and have him adopted. The parent never contacted the hospital or government agency afterwards. The identity and location of the parent who did not yield were not fully known. After obtaining temporary custody, the State authority applied for permanent custody to the extent necessary for adoption. The child`s attorney and guardian argued that certain laws in the Shelter Act violated the doctrine of separation of powers under Section IV, Section 5(B) of the Ohio Constitution. The court agreed, finding that the notification and anonymity laws of shelter laws conflicted with the notification provisions of Youth Rule 15 and the due diligence requirements of other court rules. Juv.R.
15 requested that the parties be summoned to appear before the court. Since the primary purpose of the Safe Haven Act was to keep parents anonymous and immune from prosecution, Rule 15 on teenage undermined the purpose of shelter laws. But the laws on anonymity and termination are procedural, the courts ruled. Since the termination and anonymity laws could not be aligned with other Safe Haven laws, the entire Safe Haven Act was null and void. The original Safe Harbour complaint and the request for permanent detention were dismissed. The case was not contested.  Safe haven laws now exist in all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, but there are usually only a handful of cases a year, experts told The 19th. Critics also argue that shelter laws undermine temporary transfer laws enacted specifically for parents who don`t know whether to keep or abandon their children. Proponents counter by arguing that anonymity is the only way to convince some parents not to harm their infants and that the benefits outweigh any alleged disadvantages. Various fathers` rights groups have also criticized how shelter laws can exclude fathers from the child`s life without their knowledge or consent.
“There are health care costs. There is the emotional toll. The assumption that [abandoning a baby] are all rainbows, sunshine and butterflies because we have [shelter laws]. makes no sense,” he said. “People don`t just abandon a child and get on with their lives.” “I find [Barrett`s] call for safe haven laws repugnant and extremely offensive,” he told The 19th. “What shelter laws are supposed to do is help women who are in a bad situation when it`s too late. The idea that you could just separate from a baby is not based on reality,” Kreis said. Perhaps the most famous story of child abandonment is the biblical story of the child Moses. The account says that baby Moses was placed in a basket and placed on the banks of the Nile, where his sister watched intently from afar to see what would happen to him. The baby Moses was found by Pharaoh`s daughter and eventually raised as his own.  In several states, shelter laws are called “Baby Moses` laws” after this story.
The beauty of this story is that baby Moses` sister, probably instructed by her mother, waited in the brush to make sure he was okay. In the same way, many mothers who give birth want to make sure their babies are safe. For this reason, the term “abandonment” is used in reference to shelter laws, not the word “abandonment.” Putting a baby in a better situation is brave and in no way a case of infant abandonment. Proponents of safe harbor laws with a variety of personal views on abortion were surprised to hear them discussed in a case about abortion or as a way to reduce the burden of parenthood. Their use is extraordinarily rare: only a handful of babies are delivered through them each year. Other forms of renunciation – foster care and adoption, the latter also mentioned by Barrett – are more prevalent. Shelter laws are seen as harm reduction measures for parents in the most desperate circumstances. “I think those who already know about shelters, and they don`t seem to be using safe harbors on a large scale,” Oaks said. “I think part of my thinking about why shelters won`t increase dramatically is that other options, such as legal and open adoption, will continue to be options.”  Alabama Health Department, Alabama`s Safe Place for Newborn`s Law, H.B. 115/Act Number 00-760 (passed May 2000), www.alabamapublichealth.gov/cdr/assets/safeplacelaw.pdf (accessed 10/01/2021). Summey`s organization, Baby Moses Dallas — named after the biblical story of Moses` adoption after his mother left him in a basket in the Nile — was founded in 2004 with more than a dozen volunteers. That number dwindled until Summey was one of the few remaining assistants promoting the Safe Haven Act in Dallas.
*”In a newborn safety device” (baby box), which is located in a fire brigade or volunteer fire brigade.   Secret Safe Place Tennessee, “Find a Location,” www.secretsafeplacetn.org/find-a-location.html (accessed 1/30/21). Laury Oaks, a professor of feminist studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, said she also doesn`t think the waiver of shelters in Texas will increase dramatically once abortions are officially banned. Communities can invest in their citizens by clearly and publicly marking Safe Haven clinics and providing documentation to people giving birth. There are practical resources to support increased signage at www.nationalsafehavenalliance.org/signage sites as well as the installation of baby boxes in communities.