"Safe Haven" laws allow mothers to give up unwanted newborn children

By Jamel Major - bio | email

SOUTHAVEN, MS (WMC-TV) - "Safe Haven" laws in the state of Mississippi allow parents to give up their newborn children without fear of retribution.

Lauren Carpenter of Baptist Memorial Hospital-Desoto says her staff is always ready to protect unwanted babies from being hurt or killed if they're abandoned.

"There's always someone on staff who'll be capable of taking the child into care," Carpenter said Tuesday.

According to Mississippi's Safe Haven Law, anyone can leave their baby, up to three days old, with an employee at any emergency medical provider, hospital emergency room or licensed adoption agency.
"The mother is not required to seek counseling or give any information whatsoever, and she will not have any repercussions for bringing the baby to any emergency care provider," Carpenter said.

The law allows distressed parents who are unable or unwilling to care for their baby to give the child to a responsible adult and walk away, no questions asked, as long as the child shows no signs of abuse.

"Any lacerations, any bruises, any physical marks at all on the child," Carpenter said.

Parents who do not return to reclaim their baby, will have their parental rights terminated.  The child will then be turned over to Child Protective Services.

"If the parent doesn't return, the child will be adopted by a family who is capable and seeking adoption," Carpenter said.

More information about local Safe Haven Laws:

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