HARRISBURG – To protect babies with parents who are unable to care for them, the Senate unanimously passed legislation sponsored by Sen. Michele Brooks (R-50).
Senate Bill 267 would decriminalize surrendering an unharmed newborn at an urgent care center when a parent is unable to care for a child. Health care providers at participating urgent care centers would be required to take the abandoned baby into protective custody and ensure the newborn is transported to a hospital and placed in the care of a health care provider.
“As of April 2021, more than 350 urgent care centers were operating in Pennsylvania. They are close to mothers in virtually every community in the state, making a safe hand-off easier, more convenient and more likely,” Brooks said. “These facilities have trained personnel who will accept the baby, no questions asked, and transport them safely to a hospital until such time they can be put on a path to a safe and loving home.”
Safe Haven Laws, or “Baby Moses” Laws, were passed in numerous states since the 1990s after a string of heartbreaking infanticide cases in the Midwest.
Currently, people may bring their newborn (up to 28 days old) to any Pennsylvania hospital, to a police officer at a police station or to an emergency services provider at an EMS station.
The Department of Health estimates that 50 babies have been saved by Pennsylvania’s Safe Haven Law since 2003.
Having received support from the Senate, the bill now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.
CONTACT: Adam Gingrich, 717-787-1322