Column: Safe surrender needs promotion
No one should have to abandon a baby.
Safe Surrender or Safe Haven laws are currently in place so that mothers who are indisposed or incapable of caring for their newborns have an anonymous means by which to give up their child. Safe Surrender options are available in all 50 states, so why are they not advertised more effectively? A potential new mother should be cognizant of all alternatives before walking away, allowing adoption or possibly committing to abortion.
In California this past week, a newborn was found under rubble in Los Angeles. In this state in particular, extremely lenient Safe Surrender laws are already in place. So why did this mother or father walk away with obviously no intent to return? If a few walkers had not ambled by, the infant surely would not have survived the night.
In South Carolina, the stipulations are a little more stringent than those of Los Angeles. In essence, the program still stands — that is, any responsible adult can anonymously relinquish custody of the infant to an employee at a hospital, EMS provider, fire station, law enforcement agency or center of worship within 30 days of birth.
In addition to better visibility and marketing of this program, the option needs to be given alongside all other alternatives. Too often, people are not informed of all options even regarding as simple a decision as choosing what classes to take. How much more important it is to outline all viable options for a mother! In particular, Safe Surrender laws should be presented as an alternative to an abortion, if the mother is so inclined.
Both abortion and the idea of “safe surrender” are nothing new. Since 1550 BCE, records of both are found in Egypt. Today, we seem to think that our generation has devised all these new ideas and practices. We also typically place people in two camps — have the child and raise it, or abort the child. However, there are various other options that need to be presented to the mother as well, such as Safe Surrender. Even Planned Parenthood only offers three options on their website: abortion, adoption or parenting.
Statistics fluctuate about the issue of abortion regarding how many are performed annually (estimated at 1-1.3 million), and with hundreds of thousands of families seeking to adopt children each year, that is simply one alternative to having an abortion. However, if seeking to avoid extra paperwork, difficulty or heartache, Safe Surrender laws offer a simpler option for the mother. Whether or not the public can trust the various numbers surrounding abortion and its emotional effects remain to be seen. What is abundantly clear is the loss of potential with the hundreds of thousands of infants aborted.
In a very different way, the individual in Los Angeles aborted his or her responsibility to the child. Just for a qualifying comparison, we could fill Williams-Brice stadium 16 times with all of the possible talent lost to abortions. Let’s promote Safe Surrender as a viable alternative and give mothers a fuller picture of the options.