Would increase time from 72 hours to 30 days
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 7, 2016) — Parents who feel they can’t keep their newborn baby would have up to 30 days to leave the child at a state-approved safe place, according to a proposal discussed today in a House committee.
Parents or those acting on their behalf currently have up to three days after a child is born to leave the newborn at a safe place under the 14-year-old Kentucky Safe Infants Act.
House Bill 97, sponsored by House Health and Welfare Committee Chairman Rep. Tom Burch (D-Louisville), would allow parents 27 additional days to make that decision.
“Some feel (72 hours) is not enough time to allow a woman to make that decision. So this bill will extend that up to 30 days,” Burch said. “We need to get the wording right so nobody has liability problems.”
The bill may also expand the list of acceptable safe places to leave a newborn, according to Burch, who said he is working on an amendment with Rep. Donna Mayfield (R-Winchester) to include religious facilities among the list. The only safe places to leave a newborn under current law are hospitals, police stations, fire stations and in locations with EMS (emergency medical services) personnel.
As long as the baby is not injured, the law ensures that the parent or person acting for them will not be liable.
A Kentucky Safe Infants Act brochure from the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services states: “No one will call the police and no one will ask for your name. The baby will get medical care and be placed with a family for adoption.”
HB 97 is expected to be brought to a vote before the House Health and Welfare Committee in the next few days.