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FIRST-PERSON: ‘Safe Havens for Newborns’ law worthy if even one life is saved

McMINNVILLE, Ore. (BP)–“The laws that are most operative are the laws which protect life,” famed preacher Henry Ward Beecher said. In line with that sentiment, Wisconsin Gov. Scott McCallum signed legislation that hopefully will help save the lives of countless newborns.

The new law, dubbed the “Safe Haven for Newborns,” allows a mother to surrender an unharmed newborn to a peace officer, an emergency medical technician or hospital within 72 hours of birth with no penalty or questions asked.

The Wisconsin General Assembly, which passed the legislation unanimously, is to be commended for taking a stand for life. However, that such a law is needed is sobering and sad.

Lawmakers across the country are accepting that the practice of abandoning babies has become a terrible trend. Thirteen states have measures similar to the Wisconsin statute and 25 others are considering such bills, CNSNews.com reports.

So, while our society is accepting the fact that there are those who will desert a helpless infant, are we willing to ask why such a tragic reality occurs?

A mother giving up a newborn is nothing new. Through the ages babies have been left on the doorsteps of churches, orphanages and even private residences. In the Bible, the mother of Moses placed him in a basket and cast him afloat in the Nile River.

There is a difference in the “abandonment” that once took place from that which is occurring today. In the past, a mother gave her baby up so the child could have a chance at a better life. In the case of Moses, he was given up in order to escape the murderous decree of a tyrant and have an opportunity to live.

The abandonment that has become a trend in this country is not about preserving the life of the infant. It is about insuring the child will die.

There are those who assert young mothers abandon their infants due to fear and desperation. They simply do not know where to turn and thus desert their offspring. This view sees the young parent as much of a victim as the discarded child.

However, in many recent abandonment cases babies have been left in trashcans or dumpsters. These children have not been left where they could be found and thus taken care of. No, in most recent desertions it seems the infants were purposely left in locations where they would not be found and thus be certain to expire.

A root cause of this trend is that society no longer views human life as special and unique. How can you convince a young mother that it is wrong to leave her newborn to die when she could have legally swept it from her life weeks, if not days, prior to birth?

“Judicial decrees may not change the heart, but they can restrain the heartless”, declared Martin Luther King Jr. Wisconsin’s infant protection law may not change society’s view of human life, but if it helps prevent even one infant’s untimely death, it is worthwhile.
Boggs is pastor of Valley Baptist Church, McMinnville, Ore.

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  • Kelly Boggs