INDEPENDENT NEWS

Why No Safe Havens For Abandoned Babies In New Zealand?

Published: Sun 7 May 2023 06:38 PM
Right to Life requests the New Zealand government to introduce laws to provide safe havens for abandoned babies to allow anonymous birth, and assign funding for safe haven baby hatches to provide safe alternative ways of giving up a baby. New Zealand sadly does not have safe haven laws. Since 2016, tragically the bodies of three abandoned babies have been found in Auckland.
What is a Safe Haven Baby Box? A Baby Box is a safety device provided for under a State's Safe Haven Law and legally permits a mother in crisis to safely, securely, and anonymously surrender if they are unable to care for their newborn. A Baby Box is installed in an exterior wall of a designated fire station or hospital. An exterior door automatically locks when a newborn is placed inside, an alarm immediately alerts staff and an interior door lets a medical staff member secure the baby from inside the building.
The National Safe Haven Association [NSHA], is a non -profit organisation that supports parents facing crisis pregnancy/post-birth situations and Safe Haven providers to prevent infanticide and abandonment. NSHA is dedicated to reaching mothers/parents and helping them make a safe, post-birth plan for themselves and their babies whether it is a safe-haven relinquishment, adoption, temporary placement or parenting. NSHA supports states’ efforts and provides 24/7 crisis hotline support for parents in need.
There are 50 States in the United States that provide safe havens for babies at hospitals, police stations and fire stations. The first state to introduce safe havens was Texas in 1999. The use of safe havens discourages abandonment and infanticide. The NSHA advise that between 1999 and 2021 a total of 4,505 babies were saved in the United States as a result of the care resulting from the use of safe havens.
Mothers may leave information that will enable the baby to contact the mother if they wish when they turn 16. Mothers also may change their mind before a child is adopted.
Other countries that have safe havens are Germany (99), Poland (44), Italy, Russia, Czechia and Malaysia.
In the United States more than 22,000 babies are abandoned by mothers who are unable to care for their baby or are unwilling; these mothers need and deserve help.
New Zealand ranked 35th out of 41 developed nations for child wellbeing.
A child dies in New Zealand every five weeks due to violent abuse
New Zealand has the seventh highest rate of child murder in the OECD.
New Zealand needs better laws to protect our most vulnerable. Safe Haven laws should be enacted to offer those with limited options a safe place to take babies to.

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