Sunday, September 28, 2008

Unintended Consequences - Safe Haven Law

Nebraska lawmakers consider revising 'safe haven' laws

I thought this was a sad but interesting article and a very good example of unintended consequences.

The idea behind the law was to give people who were about to abandon newborns an alternative to throwing them into a dumpster or some such.

But the law was written for children as old as 19 even though no one ever expected it to be applied to teenagers (supposedly according to the article). Turns out that was wrong and there have been teenagers abandoned under the law.

Here's an excerpt from another article in the Chicago Tribune:

Over the last two weeks, moms or dads have dropped off seven teens at hospitals in the Cornhusker state, indicating they didn’t want to care for them any more.

“They were tired of their parenting role,” according to Todd Landry of Nebraska’s Department of Human and Human Services, quoted in USA Today.

Under a newly implemented law, Nebraska is the only state in the nation to allow parents to leave children of any age at hospitals and request they be taken care of, USA Today notes. So-called “safe haven laws” in other states were designed to protect babies and infants from parental abandonment.

The most eye-popping case in Nebraska occurred Wednesday, when a 34-year-old father deposited nine children ages 1 to 17 at Creighton University Medical Center -- and then walked away.

The mother died a year and a half ago after a cerebral hemorrhage. The father, Gary Staton, told KETV-TV, a local station, "I was with her for 17 years, and then she was gone. What was I going to do? We raised them together. I didn't think I could do it alone. I fell apart. I couldn't take care of them."

The Omaha World-Herald reported that the man had a “history of unemployment, eviction notices and unpaid bills – and a psychologist’s determination that he lacked common sense.”


~Betsy said...

Pathetic. I can't even abandon a puppy let alone a child. My heart goes out to those nice kids. Can you imagine the baggage they will have for the rest of their lives?

Lori1955 said...

Just so sad. Have we gotten to a point where we no longer value life? How can anyone act like their children are something they bought and can return when they no longer want them? I just don't get it.