ST. PAUL — A state program offering a lifesaving option to women in danger of harming their newborns would receive much-needed funding under legislation introduced today in the Minnesota Senate and House of Representatives. This protective measure is strongly supported by Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL), the state's oldest and largest pro-life organization.
Minnesota enacted the Safe Place for Newborns law in 2000. This program aims to prevent infant abandonment or infanticide by allowing a mother to anonymously surrender her newborn at a designated "safe place," no questions asked. Several cases of infanticide have occurred in the state in recent years.
MCCL helped to amend the law in 2012 to expand the number of safe places and the length of time women have this option. Under the amended law, a mother, or someone acting with her permission, may leave her newborn at a hospital, an urgent care facility, or an ambulance dispatched in response to a 911 call within seven days of birth. Personnel at the safe place immediately begin arrangements for care for the child.
The Safe Place for Newborns program is a last alternative for mothers who feel desperate, and their babies who are at risk of harm or abandonment. Resources and funding are needed to expand awareness of the program statewide.
"No troubled mother needs to resort to abandoning or killing her newborn child," said MCCL Legislative Associate Andrea Rau. "Safe Place is a wonderful program that many more people need to know about."
The measure introduced today would appropriate funds enabling the Department of Human Services to distribute information about the Safe Place option. Increasing public awareness in this way would help to prevent unnecessary tragedies.
The chief author of S.F. 796 is Sen. Kent Eken, DFL-Twin Valley. In the House of Representatives, the chief author of H.F. 825 is Roz Peterson, R-Lakeville.