Safe Havens

CUB is opposed to the legalization and encouragement of infant abandonment through programs often known as "Safe Havens."

Safe Havens do not solve the problem they purport to address. Unsafe abandonment and infant deaths continue to occur in states that have enacted such programs. Women who abandon babies are not suffering from a lack of options but from postpartum psychosis, extreme denial, or pressure from parents or boyfriends.

These laws may encourage women to conceal pregnancies and then abandon infants who would otherwise be placed for adoption or be raised by relatives. Safe Haven laws also do nothing to ensure that the abandonment is being carried out by both of the infant's parents. This means that one or both of the parents are being denied their legal rights.

Unlike the "informed consent" clauses common in abortion statutes, Safe Haven laws prohibit counseling, denying the parent(s) the opportunity to discuss options. The result is that the abandoned children are permanently denied knowledge of their identity and access to family medical history. State funds spent to implement and advertise such programs are far better spent on services to prevent such tragedies, including unbiased options counseling for women in crisis pregnancies.

More than two dozen American organizations concerned with adoption and child welfare oppose Safe Haven legislation. Safe Havens have been described as an "ineffective band-aid."

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