What is the Safe Haven Law in Pennsylvania?
Safe Haven of Pennsylvania, also known as the Newborn Protection Act, was enacted in 2003 and amended in 2014, and it states that any parent may leave a newborn baby in the care of a hospital or with a police officer at a police station without being criminally liable as long as the baby is no older than 28 days and is not harmed.
Girls who are pregnant, desperate or hiding their pregnancies need to know that their baby can be kept healthy and safe without anyone knowing they gave birth and without any criminal repercussions. Since 2003, 25 babies have been relinquished under Safe Haven.
Girls who have unwanted or unexpected pregnancies may feel that they are in crisis and have to do something desperate. Some may panic and young women need to know that they have safe options.
Questions and Answers?
If you’re pregnant, there are several options for you. Feeling nervous or scared or not knowing where to turn is natural – this is a big step in a lot of people’s lives – but there are people and programs out there who want to help you through it.
You can make decisions before having a baby about who will care for it. That might mean relatives, adoptive parents, the father and/or you.
If you’re not prepared to be a mom or take care of your newborn, and you don’t have anyone to ask for help, there’s a place where you can take your baby to ensure its safety and health. All you have to do is give your newborn (up to 28 days old) to any hospital or police officer at a police station. That’s all. No one will ask questions. No one will judge you. If it’s a secret, it will stay a secret.
It is very important throughout this process that you and your baby are healthy. Please see a doctor. It is extremely unsafe to go through a pregnancy with no medical help. If you are unsure of where to go, you have several options for medical care. Call the Healthy Baby Helpline, 1-800-986-BABY (2229) and someone will help you find free or low cost health care services.
If you are not able to care for your baby, all you have to do is bring your newborn (up to 28 days old) to any Pennsylvania hospital or to a police officer at a police station and drop it off. That’s all. As long as the baby is unharmed and not a victim of any crime, you will not be in any trouble.
No one will ask you any questions, no one will judge you and no one will say a word about your baby. In fact, you don’t even have to give your name or address.
You can provide medical information for the baby. But you don’t have to answer any questions.
To speak to someone about the Safe Haven Program or just to talk to someone, call us confidentially at 1-866-921-SAFE (7233).
While you’re pregnant, we encourage you to seek care for you and your baby to ensure a safe delivery. For prenatal care, call the Healthy Baby Helpline at 1-800-986-BABY (2229) and they can help you get information about medical providers and health care coverage. These services are free and kept confidential.
Am I going to get in trouble?
Nothing will happen to you as long as the baby is not a victim of abuse or any other crime.
What if I change my mind?
After the baby is left at the hospital or with a police officer, it is in safe hands. The local county children and youth agency will take custody of the baby and find it a good home. If at any point you change your mind and want your baby back, you will need to contact your county children and youth agency.
How can I be sure that no one will find out?
As long as the baby has not been harmed, you do not need to give anyone any information about you or the baby’s father-not even your name. No information is necessary and no questions will be asked. You can provide family medical information if you like OR you can take a health history form and mail it in later anonymously.
Remember, as long as the baby is under 28 days old and hasn’t been hurt, you will not get in trouble with the police.
Do I have to give my baby to someone or can I just leave it at the hospital or police station?
To make sure that your baby gets the care it needs, you can give your baby to a hospital staff member without having to give them any information. If you don’t want to do that, as long as you leave the baby at the hospital, you don’t have to give the baby to anyone. Some hospitals even have a crib or bassinet for you the leave the baby in. If you take the baby to the police station, you must give the baby to a police officer.
You don’t have to worry about the hospital staff or police officers asking you for personal information or asking why you’re bringing your baby. They are there to protect babies and want to give all newborns the care they need and deserve, no matter what. No one will ask you who you are or where you live. No information is required. As long as the baby is unharmed, you will not get into trouble. A doctor will examine the baby and make sure it stays healthy.
(Safe Haven) http://www.secretsafe.org/