Arizona law change allows more time to give unharmed baby to safe haven
PHOENIX – A law that is expected to take effect in July will provide more time for a person to give an unharmed baby to any safe haven location in Arizona.
Gov. Doug Ducey on April 9 signed HB2410 into law, changing the time period from three days to 30 days for a person to not face criminal charges for giving up a newborn.
Heather Burner, executive director of the National Safe Haven Alliance and director of the Arizona Safe Baby Haven Foundation, advocated for this change for several years.
She believes the extra time will save the lives of infants that might otherwise have been abandoned.
“This was a really important initiative for us because the importance for the parents to have this time to emotionally respond to the birth of their child and make an educated and supported decision,” Burner told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Wednesday.
Since the original safe haven law went into effect in 2001, 45 babies have been safely surrendered in Arizona.
With the passage of this bill, Burner says Arizona is on track to meet a national model that has proven to have more success with crisis pregnancies and interventions.
“When we look at the three-day model, many women that have experienced a crisis pregnancy of some sort deliver their baby and they aren’t even discharged from the hospital within three days,” Burner said.
Safe haven locations in Arizona can be found at any hospital, fire station, child welfare agency, participating churches and adoption agencies.
Babies that have been surrendered will immediately be placed with an adoptive family when discharged from the hospital after a checkup.
Glendale Fire Capt. Ashley Losch applauded the legislative change.
“Any time we can put a mechanism in place that supports the health and safety of a child – there’s not a person in the world, much less a firefighter, that doesn’t support that,” Losch said.
When a child is dropped off, Losch says firefighters will ask questions regarding the baby’s medical history for future reference but will respect if the person wants to remain anonymous.