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Nebraska safe haven law reveals societal hypocrisy

By Kathlyn Stone  Posted by Kathlyn Stone (about the submitter)     Permalink
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Officials want to revise the law to limit 'safe haven' to abandoned newborns one and younger, in line with other states. What is wrong with people?


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Last week news outlets around the country reported on ‘deadbeat’ parents who seemingly took advantage of a new safe haven law in Nebraska that allows parents to leave a child, regardless of age, at a licensed hospital without explaining why.  

The media and so-called child protection reaction has been painful, clearly siding with Nebraska officials that want to change the law to limit care to abandoned newborns one and younger, in line with other states.

What is wrong with people?   

It’s been reported that 16 children, half of them teens, have been dropped off at Nebraska hospitals by a parent since the law took effect in July.   If a parent, such as the father of nine whose wife died from cancer last year, can't manage to take care of his children, the youngest age one, and has no place else to go, isn't the new law meeting its purpose to care for unwanted children and get them out of an unhealthy situation?  

"This was never the intent of the bill," co-author Republican state Sen. Arnie Stuthman told USA Today, adding that the bill was intended to protect newborns but in order to be passed it was revised to include all children. Stuthman said the new law is “a mess” and needs to be fixed.  

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One suspects that these "unintended results" are adding to the strain on diminishing state resources but it also reveals a hidden problem: children -- from babies to teens -- are living in situations where their parents can't or are incapable of caring for them properly.   

What kind of society so eagerly wants to put these children back behind the curtain and ignore the issue? Yes, some of the parents may be selfish or lazy or addicts. Or they might be mentally or physically ill, or plagued by mortgage foreclosures, staggering health bills, or job lay-offs.   

The primary focus should be on helping the children whose parents don’t want them or can’t care for them, not on “fixing” the system to prevent parents from dumping their kids.   

The safe haven law performed beyond expectations. It reveals a need for our society to provide more resources for children whose parents would abandon them for whatever reason.  

Shame on the legislators, public health officials and the wider media for wanting to sweep under the rug this truth that emerged from Nebraska's new law.

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Maybe it's time to expand the safe haven law t... by Robert N Smith on Monday, Sep 29, 2008 at 9:18:47 PM
For more than five years I have advocated the Nati... by Professor Emeritus Peter Bagnolo on Tuesday, Sep 30, 2008 at 10:27:47 AM
We can point to greed, as personafied below, ... by Kathlyn Stone on Wednesday, Oct 1, 2008 at 9:19:08 AM
Kathlyn, would you and others, who are disturbed b... by Kitty Antonik Wakfer on Tuesday, Sep 30, 2008 at 7:16:15 PM
Kathlyn, would you and others, who are disturbed b... by JC Garrett on Tuesday, Sep 30, 2008 at 8:21:26 PM
in this case children. You can call me a comm... by Kathlyn Stone on Tuesday, Sep 30, 2008 at 10:25:08 PM
Over the past two centuries the government's m... by Bryan Emmel on Wednesday, Oct 1, 2008 at 12:45:55 AM
Soon they won't be able to borrow any more for... by Kathlyn Stone on Wednesday, Oct 1, 2008 at 9:25:23 AM