Iowa’s Safe Haven law was enacted in 2002 and, since then, has been used 27 times by parents to release custody of their newborn child.
Amy McCoy, spokesperson for the Iowa Department of Human Services, says there’s a chance the 15-year-old law could be altered.
“There was some legislation that was proposed this year to expand some portions of the law. That did not get passed this year, but we might see it come back next year,” McCoy says. The law protects parents from prosecution for abandonment if they hand over their infant at a hospital or health care facility within 14 days of birth.
McCoy says the proposed legislation would expand the Safe Haven law to give the parents more time and more options. “That would include being able to turn over care of the child to an EMT…so, fire or ambulance personnel,” McCoy said.
The law was approved in the wake of a high profile case in 2001 involving a teen mother in eastern Iowa who killed her home-delivered newborn.