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Rethinking Safe-Haven

Nebraska legislators will convene on today to re-evaluate the safe-haven law.

The safe-haven law was intended to save "Dumpster babies".
The law was intended to allow desperate young mothers to abandon their newborns at a hospital without fear of prosecution.

Unfortunately, lawmakers could not agree on an age limit, and the law as passed uses only the word "child."
Since the law took effect last July, more than half of the 33 children legally abandoned have been teenagers. 20 teenagers — six 17-year-olds, two 16-year-olds, six 15-year-olds, three 14-year-olds, three 13-year-olds — have been abandoned, along with eight children who were 11 or 12. Five of the children dropped off have been from out of state.

As of today, police are looking for a 17-year-old girl after she ran off when she realized her mother was taking her to a hospital to drop her off under the Safe Haven law.
Her 14-year-old brother stayed. He's now in state custody.

All states have safe-haven laws, but in every state but Nebraska, the law applies to infants only.

The number of drop-offs has almost tripled to about three a week since Gov. Dave Heineman announced on Oct. 29 that lawmakers would rewrite the law.


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