Family and Relationships


Nebraska Law Opens Door for Parents to Abandon Children

August 25, 2008 07:00 AM
by Emily Coakley
A new Nebraska safe haven law is drawing criticism because of its expansive nature.
Earlier this summer, Nebraska’s safe haven law took effect. Although every other state’s statute applies to infants, Nebraska’s could allow parents to abandon children up to age 19, according to the Indianapolis Star.

Safe haven laws give parents the legal ability to transfer custody of a child to the state. They exist generally to provide parents with an alternative to aborting, or harmfully discarding children.

“All children deserve our protection,” Nebraska State Sen. Tom White told the Associated Press. “If we save one child from being abused, it’s well, well worth it.”

Nebraska is the last state to enact a safe haven law. It has not been used yet, according to the story, but some are worried that it could lead to children being abandoned. 

One critic of the law, Adam Pertman, told the AP: “Whether the kid is disabled or unruly or just being a hormonal teenager, the state is saying: ‘Hey, we have a really easy option for you.’”

Perspectives on ‘baby dumping’

The Daily Bastardette says “no fault baby dumping = the new adoption,” and encourages everyone to take advantage of the law.

“President Grant once said ‘the best way to get rid of a bad law is to enforce it.’ With this is mind I offer an open invitation to all frustrated, tired, angry disgusted parents, wherever you are: take your unpleasant child in hand, hop in your car or on Greyhound (or a plane if TSA will let the delinquent through), and head for America’s heartland. Make Nebraska the child dump capital of America,” she wrote.

Michael Barrett, writing as Slobokan on Slobokan’s Site O’ Schtuff, says parents now have a way out

“Gone are the days of ‘doing the responsible thing,’ or living up to the expectations of society. Society (in Nebraska anyway) no longer requires you to fulfill your obligation as a parent,” Barrett wrote.

At the blog Bad Breeders, Trench Reynolds said the Nebraska law was the “most vague” of the widely varying state laws.

“There needs to be a federally uniform safe haven law since the states can’t seem to get it together and for the most part have not prevented baby dumpings,” Reynolds wrote.

A group called Bastard Nation argues that safe haven laws, while trying to protect babies from being abandoned and possibly killed, “strip the infant of all genetic, medical and social history.” That’s just one problem the group cites with safe haven laws, which they say are unnecessary. Bastard Nation is an “organization dedicated to the equal treatment and dignity of all adopted citizens.”

Reference: Other safe haven laws; parenting help


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