Archive for Friday, September 11, 2009

Life-saving effort

Faced with a number of newborn death cases, Kansas’ top law enforcement official wants to publicize the state law that gives parents another option.

September 11, 2009


Kansas Attorney General Steve Six is mounting a laudable effort to raise awareness of the Kansas Newborn Infant Protection Act.

The law, which went into effect in January 2007, allows a parent or legal guardian of a child up to the age of 45 days to legally surrender that child to an employee of a fire station, health department of medical facility. As long as the child has not suffered bodily harm, the person can give the child up without fear of legal prosecution.

It’s difficult for most Kansans to understand why a parent or legal guardian would make such a choice, but giving a child up clearly is preferable to some other choices a parent could make. In a press release this week, Six said that his office had handled several cases involving mothers who had killed their newborn babies.

The release noted some common circumstances in the cases. The woman’s pregnancy usually is unplanned and hidden from friends and family. The mother will intentionally deliver the baby away from a medical facility, likely at home. Alone and overwhelmed, she takes horrible, desperate action.

It’s the AG’s sad duty to prosecute such cases, but it would be far preferable to eliminate them. The first line of defense is to try to provide the kind of support and services that a pregnant women needs to cope with preparing to raise a child or give it up for adoption. For women who can’t be reached with that kind of support, the best option may be to try to let them know they have another choice.

If a mother can’t take care of her child, she can legally surrender it to someone who can. Getting information about the state’s infant protection act to those who need it is a daunting task, but it’s good that Six is making it a priority.

When a new mother’s life seems to be spinning out of control, it may seem that there aren’t any good choices. The worse choice, however, is to end a baby’s life. The goal of the state law is to give even the most desperate parent another option. Six and other health care professionals across the state are doing the right thing by trying make that option more visible.


BigPrune 8 years, 9 months ago

This is a good thing. It is however too bad it's still legal to kill a baby in Kansas right before delivery (while it's still in the womb).

Practicality 8 years, 9 months ago

This is a good thing. I wouldn't mind seeing them extend the age to like 6 years though, when the schoold system can help keep an eye on the welfare of a child.

domino 8 years, 9 months ago

If I remember correctly, Nebraska put neither an age limit in their law nor that the child had to be give to an employee. They ended up with teenagers from states on the coast being brought to Nebraska and dumped at their "safe" places because the kids were out of control and the parents didn't know how to deal with them.

This is the "Newborn Infant Protection Act" so assume that is the reasoning behind ther 45 days old limit.

Maddy Griffin 8 years, 9 months ago

Since when it is legal to abort a chid right before delivery? If you are referring to partial-birth abortions, those are done only in extreme cases and never right before delivery. I love the way some people twist the language in order to instill fear or disgust in others. Kind of like throwing "socialism" around all the time.

newbee2 8 years, 9 months ago

In all honesty, why isn't this law written to extend to all minors, regardless of age? If a parent literally can not care for their child(ren), and they are needing help, why not protect all children? Seriously, the protection of all children should come first and if parent(s) can actually give up the child(ren) to the custody of the state, without prejudice or penalty, isn't that saying something about them as parents? Isn't that them admitting that they can't cope? And if they can't cope, why would we as a society prefer them to stay with those parent(s)? If they don't want them, why would we want to subject a child to that situation because of an age clause in the law? Perhaps a provision in the law to review the needs of the abandoned children for 90 days, and interview the parent(s) as to why they are leaving the child(ren) should be in place, whether it is a newborn or older? Maybe the parent(s) just don't have the resources or know how to obtain the help that they need. If it is a matter of finances, maybe families will be able to remain together, but if it is because of other factors, such as drug problems, abuse situations, or even teens out of control, won't children be better off getting protection and services, with or without the biological parent(s)? It isn't only little newborns that face danger from their own parent(s), you know.

Ron Holzwarth 8 years, 9 months ago

Does anyone besides me remember Baby John Doe, an abandoned infant who was found in an apartment stairwell at 2400 Alabama Street in Lawrence on January 19, 1986?

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