HARTFORD – State Representative Brenda Kupchick (R-132) is urging public education on the importance of a lifesaving bill in honor of the second annual Safe Haven Law Awareness Day on April 4.
Since its passage in 2000, Connecticut’s Safe Haven Law has saved 33 infants from abandonment and near certain death by allowing anyone to drop off a newborn (within the first 30 days of life) at any hospital emergency room in Connecticut without fear of repercussion. The law has also protected the parents from the possibility of incarceration and a life of regret from having ended their infants’ lives in a moment of panic.
The person dropping off the baby — whether it’s the infant’s mother, father, grandparents or a family friend — is given a bracelet matching one put on the infant by hospital staff. Assuming there are no signs of abuse on the infant, the police will not be called and no one will be arrested. If the parents of the baby change their minds within 30 days, they may petition to get the baby back.
Rep. Kupchick is supporting a bill, HB 5446, that passed out of the Education Committee this session which contains language that would require education about the law in public high school health curriculum. The proposal, nicknamed “10 Minutes in 10th Grade,” came out of recommendations produced by the legislature’s Safe Havens Working Group.
“We have to continue to spread the word that the Safe Havens law exists, especially to a new generation of people who were too young to be aware of when it was first passed. We can help these often vulnerable women from making a devastating decision if they know they have an option to surrender a baby safely that they otherwise cannot care for. I am committed to assisting any individuals or local organizations in raising awareness of the law,” said Rep. Kupchick.
The legislation now heads to the floor of the House of Representatives and, later, the State Senate for voting.