November 12, 2007

Go Down Moses

by PG

"Indeed, news stories now regularly report that a baby has been discarded despite the availability, and sometimes the proximity, of a Safe Haven. ... Texas's Baby Moses Law was similarly born from tragedy, or a bundle of tragedies, in Houston in 1998. In that year, thirteen newborns were discovered in dumpsters or on doorsteps; three were dead. ... Social science research on neonaticide indicates that there is a conceptual disjuncture between what is known about the characteristics of women who kill newborns at birth and the more contemplative model of maternal decisionmaking imagined by the legislation."
-- Carol Sanger, "Infant Safe Haven Laws: Legislating in the Culture of Life," 106 Colum. L. Rev. 753, 759 (2006).

The person who abandoned a newborn in an obscure area outside a Katy-area fire station over the weekend did not legally comply with the Baby Moses Law, child welfare officials said Monday. ...
If an infant is abandoned at a designated emergency care provider such as a fire station, police station or hospital in a manner that causes harm to the infant or exposes the infant to a risk of harm, the case does not qualify as a Baby Moses case, Olguin said.
"Leaving it outside by some bushes or by the air-conditioning unit where the child may not be found is not covered under the Baby Moses law," Olguin said. "It was just luck and chance that this child was found." ...
He was the third infant abandoned in the Houston area so far this year, but the first whose dropoff conditions did not comply with the Baby Moses law, Olguin said.
-- Peggy O'Hare, "CPS: Infant's abandonment violated Baby Moses law," Houston Chron., Nov. 12, 2007.

(Sanger's article strikes me as mostly accurate in its description of the disconnect between Safe Haven laws and the actual psychology of the small number of women who kill or recklessly abandon infants. However, I disagree with its attempt to connect Terri Schiavo to the specifically anti-abortion aspect of the "culture of life.")

November 12, 2007 11:13 PM | TrackBack
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