A baby was abandoned at a hospital in Iowa this week. Department of Human Services spokesman Roger Munns says the child was dropped off Sunday by a couple who said they wanted to invoke the state’s “safe haven” law, passed after a tragic case dubbed “Baby Chelsea.”
A teenager in eastern Iowa let her newborn, home-delivered baby die. After it was found in a farm field, a state law was passed that granted “safe haven” to people who wanted to safely drop off an unwanted child, and was signed into law in July of July 2001.
Munns says with this latest case, we’ve had seven “safe haven babies”. A couple who reportedly left the baby this week at a hospital did not give any information about it or about themselves, and Munns says that’s allowed under the Safe Haven law. “It’s not the preferred way to handle an unwanted pregnancy,” he reminds, but if people are considering dropping off an unwanted newborn, Munns advises them to consider handing over at least a little medical information about the child.
They are not required to, though, and they won’t be prosecuted for giving up the baby. There’s no budget to publicize the program, to let more people know about it as an alternative to letting another newborn die. Munns says “People didn’t want to give that this is the best way to handle an unwanted pregnancy.” There are a lot of better ways to do it, he says, like adoption.
Munns says even if a woman who finds she’s pregnant doesn’t have money, she can find agencies or church communities that will help find support, medical care, and help in finding the child a good home. The D-H-S is not telling where in the state the baby was dropped off, but says it’s been placed safely in foster care.