July first, a new law took effect letting women drop off an unwanted newborns at a local hospital. But Radio Iowa has found that hospitals willing to be a “safe haven” want more guidance from the state in how to do it. The hospitals have deep concerns over their role. At Marshalltown Medical and Surgical Center, the hospital’s John Cahill says in an adoption case, hospitals and counselors have medical records, I-D and consent papers, which they won’t in a no-questions-asked drop-off. Cahill says while medical centers welcome the chance to take unwanted babies and care for them, they face a long list of questions only the state can answer. An administrator says hospitals are still waiting for some guidelines from the state.He says they want to know who to notify, whether to ask questions of the person dropping off an infant. John Cahill at Marshalltown Medical and Surgical Center says the hospital is ready and willing to set up a “safe havens” program and accept unwanted newborns.He says what to do next is their question, and the bill seems to say the course of action will be decided and explained to hospitals by state agencies that have jurisdiction. The goal is to prevent tragedies like the death of an infant apparently killed by her mother in Ames July 21.
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