Safe Haven Laws Law and Legal Definition

Safe Haven Laws are laws that allow any person statutorily defined by law, usually parents, to abandon an unharmed newborn baby at any location permitted by law. Safe haven laws were enacted in response to an increased number of infant abandonment and infanticide.

In the U.S., almost all the states have safe haven laws that allow parents or statutorily defined persons to relinquish their newborns at any safe location authorized by the statute. Texas, in 1999, enacted the first Baby Moses or safe haven law. Safe haven laws are also known as Baby Moses law, Safe Place law, Safe Arms for Newborns law, Safe Delivery law, or Safe Surrender law depending upon the state in which they are enacted. Safe haven laws vary by state and they are known by different names in various states.

Safe haven laws offer various protections to the newborn and the person relinquishing the newborn. However, the abandonment should be according to the governing laws to avail protections guaranteed. Safe haven laws generally allow the parent, or an agent of the parent, to remain anonymous.

Relinquishment of a newborn is legal only if the relinquished newborn is within the age limit permitted by state laws. Age limit for surrendering a newborn to a safe haven location vary from state to state. Some states place the maximum age of an infant that can be relinquished as three days; whereas, there are states that have extended the age limit to one year.