Missouri lawmakers are debating whether to extend the state's "Safe Haven" period, giving parents the right to give up their newborn babies without legal consequences for up to 45 days after birth. Currently, parents only have a five-day window, so, if passed, the change will be significant.
According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, the senators in favor of the bill believe it will help protect infants from being abused or neglected. Under existing law, parents can hand over their baby to medical professionals, firefighters, emergency medical technicians or law enforcement officers. The bill would include maternity homes and pregnancy resource centers as options.
Lastly, the bill will allow parents to withhold their identities and the identity of the baby, and prevent law enforcement from seeking out that information. This portion of the bill is highly controversial as some lawmakers believe knowing a child's family history is crucial for medical purposes.
No word on when the proposal will go up for a vote.