General Question

JackAdams's avatar

Will someone please explain this new law to me?

Asked by JackAdams (6574points) August 25th, 2008

Nebraska has a new law now, described in this article:

Unless I am totally misunderstanding it (and I just might be) parents can now take their kids somewhere, drop them off and say, “I don’t want him/her in my life, anymore.”

Is that it? You can now “get rid” of your kids, if you wish? You can now give up your parental responsibilities and suddenly become childless if you wish? You can change your mind about having kids?

I wonder what kind of psychological damage is done to a child, when s/he discovers, “My Mommy & Daddy don’t want me, anymore.”

I hope that I am mis-reading the article, or misunderstanding it.

August 25, 2008, 5:54 AM EDT

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15 Answers

Scrumpulator's avatar

Holy @#*T that is $&#*ed up, I read the article and cannot believe what it say’s, that is almost a ludicrous as the Patriot Act. Here is a site that states all the laws similar in all the United States.

You are not misunderstanding the article. I had to re-read it to make sure myself what it actually says. And what it says is that you can abandon your children, I think that the premise of these “Safe Haven” laws, is that they were created as a solution to parents that can not take care of their children. They were put into place to protect the children, not the parents. But it seems that the Nebraska law is ambiguous and courts said that they are willing to open it back up to litigation. I am really beside my self at these laws, in California you can legally abandon your child at a hospital, or other designated places within 72 hours of birth. This is really messed up, people should take responsibility for their actions. I just had a pregnancy scare with a girl I am seeing, and I told her that in light of my actions I would take whatever responsibility was mine in the matter if she did end up pregnant, I told her it is her body and not mine, so what ever choice she made I would live up to my part of the responsibility of our actions. Thank God that she was just two weeks late, and not pregnant, but still, I was ready to deal with it. These Safe Haven laws take everything that I just said and flush it down the toilet. no one had these options before in all the history of man.

2000 years ago, if you didn’t want your child you threw it into a ditch, or sold it into slavery. The global morals of this millennium do not allow that to a large degree, especially in the United States. I think that law makers when creating these laws made them in an effort to curb infanticide and illegal abortions, that can cause pain and distress and even death on the mothers side. Why do we skirt responsibility these days in America, It blows me away how people don’t think that they reap what they sow. I am in distress over this whole thing and need to go smoke a cigarette, and yes I know it will kill me, I take responsibility for my actions.

PeterM's avatar

It’s supposed to provide an alternative to murdering your children.

whatthefluther's avatar

@JackAdams: Incredible. I wish we both misread the article. The only hope is it was misreported, but I fear that is not the case.

JackAdams's avatar

I think that this may be a “Fluther First” for me, believe it or not.

This is the first time that EVERY response, so far, AGREES WITH ME.

Amazing. I have arrived…

August 25, 2008, 8:03 AM EDT

cheebdragon's avatar

Jack- just don’t mention the “r” word and you should be fine on fluther…

I think that this law is pretty stupid, but I also think about how much it breaks my heart to hear on the news that a 3 year old girl is missing and her mom waited 1 month before reporting it to the police, or that some stupid bitch abandoned her 2 year old kid in a mall.
If it saves kids then it’s a good idea. The problem with that law is that it doesn’t require the person surrendering the kid to be a parent, and I can already see people surrendering someone kids out of spite or just as a form of retaliation against the parents….....some people are that stupid.

wundayatta's avatar

In my area, every few months or so, it seems, we hear of a baby that has been abandoned in a dumpster. Young women get pregnant, are ashamed, hide the pregnancy from everyone (it is possible), and then get rid of the evidence when the kid is born. These women tend to not know much about adoption, or are so ashamed of what they’ve done, going to jail for murder is better than letting folks find out they had sex.

Do we want unwanted babies to be dumped in dumpsters, as a matter of policy? I think we’d rather save them. So, these Safe Havens were set up so that women in this situation could have a way of “dumping” their unwanted babies, without killing them, and without getting found out.

Sure, these women are not very responsible. It seems to me we are doing no favors to the babies by forcing such irresponsible mothers to care for them. Come on! These are women who were willing to murder their babies in order not to get found out! I’d much rather they were given to these safe havens, so someone could adopt them. It seems hardly fair to get rid of safe havens, so that more babies can be murdered.

Oh Jeez. Now I sound like an anti-choice zealot.

JackAdams's avatar

“I’d much rather they were given to these safe havens, so someone could adopt them. It seems hardly fair to get rid of safe havens, so that more babies can be murdered.”

I’m in complete agreement with you. “Giving away” is indeed much better than murder.

You’re RIGHT to say what you did, daloon.

August 25, 2008, 11:25 AM EDT

SeekerSeekiing's avatar

I think it’s a good thing. If kids are not wanted they are in danger. My father had ‘legal custody’ of me, and it was a source of pride to him. But he farmed me out everywhere…and I…well, it didn’t go well with me.

I even went to a principal once at school and told her I wanted to be turned over to the State. She called the woman I lived with and she beat me with a 1×2 piece of lumber.

I wish he could have given me up. I’d have needed less therapy;-)

charliecompany34's avatar

most, if not all states, have law in place that states you are able to relinquish a newborn infant within 7 days of birth no questions asked. this is to prevent loss of newborn life and babies found in dumpsters. as far as grown children, it becomes a state child and family services issue and the parent’s psychological state is investigated.

Poser's avatar

I find a lot of irony in these safe-haven laws. If a woman hides her pregnancy and throws her newborn in a dumpster, she can go to jail. If she aborts it minutes before it exits her vagina…hey, it’s her body.

Flame on.

MacBean's avatar

I wonder what kind of psychological damage is done to a child, when s/he discovers, “My Mommy & Daddy don’t want me, anymore.”

If Mommy and Daddy don’t want them, they know it already. And being raised by people who don’t like you does a lot of damage, too.

SeekerSeekiing's avatar

MacBean, I can testify to that one!

JackAdams's avatar

I forgot my manners, temporarily, and my deepest apologies are offered.

I want to thank all of you, sincerely, for sharing your thoughts on this subject with me.

I’m going to reveal some very personal information about me, at this time, because, after all, I am penning my thoughts under the cloak of anonymity, in here.

I was born in 1949, to a prostitute; the son of her and one of her “patrons.”

Back in those days (40s and 50s) abortion was a legal option only in the state of Colorado, and most unwed pregnant girls didn’t have the finances to travel there, if they didn’t have the good fortune to be living there. So, because safe and legal abortions weren’t a viable option for most prostitutes back then, the girls would just “give birth, and give up.”

So, I really do know, from personal experience, what it means to be abandoned, even though, as good fortune would have it, I ended up with, IMHO, the most wonderful adoptive mother on this (or any other) planet.

I was without any kind of parent, for the first 3 months of my life, and the realization that someone did not want to keep me, even though I was finally “wanted” at 3 months of age, has given me some low self-esteem issues, that haunt my soul to this very day, 58 years later.

Again, I’m grateful to those of you who took the time to share your thoughts with me on this issue.

September 5, 2008, 10:59 AM EDT

JackAdams's avatar

This is related to the original topic:

Another teen dropped at Omaha hospital
Second teen from out of state dropped off in Omaha under ‘safe haven’ law

The Associated Press
updated 2:44 p.m. PT, Mon., Oct. 13, 2008

OMAHA, Neb. – A Michigan mother drove roughly 12 hours to Omaha so she could abandon her 13-year-old son at a hospital under the state’s unique safe-haven law, Nebraska officials said Monday.

The boy from the Detroit area is the second teenager from outside Nebraska and 18th child overall abandoned in the state since July when the law took effect.

There was no sign the boy was in immediate danger before he was abandoned and no indication why the boy’s mother decided to leave him at the hospital, said Todd Landry, who heads the state’s Department of Health and Human Services’ division of children and family services.

Landry said at a news conference Monday afternoon that details of the boy’s case still aren’t known, such as whether the mother had sought help in Michigan first or whether the boy’s father agreed to or aware of the decision.

Landry also said the boy doesn’t appear to have any ties to Nebraska. He has been placed in an emergency shelter in the Omaha area.

Creighton hospital spokeswoman Lisa Stites said she did not know any additional details about the boy abandoned at her hospital Monday.

Call for changes
Last week, a 14-year-old girl from Iowa was abandoned at an Omaha hospital by her grandparents. The girl has since been returned to her family.

Officials with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services have stressed that the safe-haven law should be used for children in immediate danger only. Some officials are worried that Nebraska’s broadly written law could make the state a dumping ground for unwanted children.

State officials have said parents and caregivers contemplating using the law need to understand there is no guarantee a child could be returned to them if they change their minds. The placement may involve the courts, and the process of regaining custody may prove difficult.

©2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

cheebdragon's avatar

that’s sad on so many different levels…

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