Indiana celebrates 8 years of Safe Haven Babies

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Governor Mitch Daniels recently proclaimed the month of July as Indiana Safe Haven Month and the National Safe Haven Alliance in Indiana will celebrate by hosting a Safe Haven Birthday Party for babies who were adopted thanks to legislation passed overwhelmingly in the 2000 session of the Indiana General Assembly. Lt. Governor Becky Skillman will preside over the ceremony on Wednesday, June 25, 2008 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. at the Statehouse.

Those attending will include representatives from the National Safe Haven Alliance in Indiana current and retired legislators who cosponsored the legislation in 2000, EMT professionals, nurses, social workers, representatives from the media, and, most importantly, babies (now toddlers and elementary age children) and their families who have benefited from Safe Haven legislation.

The point of such a declaration is to help raise the awareness of Safe Haven laws among young women facing crisis pregnancies and contemplating unsafe abandonment like the fate that befell Baby Ephraim, who in 2001 froze to death when he was abandoned only yards away from the emergency-room entrance of an Indianapolis hospital. It was a grim reminder that even though a law was on the books to help Ephraim, greater awareness is critical. Seven years later, all fifty states have adopted Safe Haven legislation, but the challenge remains to raise awareness among emergency-medical professionals, and most importantly, young mothers.

Tragically, the Safe Haven message has not reached everyone, as thousands of mothers from across the country opted last year to unsafely abandon their newborns, many with tragic consequences. To help change that, a number of states have passed legislative initiatives requiring the conspicuous posting of Safe Haven signage at hospitals, fire stations, and police stations. In 2009 the National Safe Haven Alliance in Indiana will ask the Indiana General Assembly to pass this legislation.

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