Safe Haven Law designed to give new parents options other than abandonment

With laws in New Jersey that allow mothers to leave unwanted newborns at hospitals or police stations, many are asking how a mother could abandon

With laws in New Jersey that allow mothers to leave unwanted newborns at hospitals, fire stations and other locations, many are asking how a mother could abandon a baby over the weekend.

With laws in New Jersey that allow mothers to leave unwanted newborns at hospitals, fire stations and other locations, many are asking how a mother could abandon a baby over the weekend. (9/3/13)

JERSEY CITY - With laws in New Jersey that allow mothers to leave unwanted newborns at hospitals or police stations, many are asking how a mother could abandon a baby over the weekend.

Police are still trying to find the mother of a premature baby boy left in a bag in a pile of trash. He was saved by a group of teens who heard him crying.

Neighbors are astonished at how a mother could make this choice. "Makes me wonder who would do that," Jeffrey Santana says. "It had to be someone really young."

New Jersey's Safe Haven law was created in 2000. It allows anyone to drop off an unwanted baby less than 30 days old anonymously at any hospital emergency room or police station.

Police say the law was designed in the best interests of both the mother and baby. "We're not going to ask you a whole lot of questions," says Wyckoff Police Chief Benjamin Fox. "If it's a woman and we know she's the mother, we would likely ask if she needs medical care."

Fox says the challenge is publicizing the law so parents, especially those overwhelmed by a new baby, know they have options.

The law says if a police department or hospital takes possession of an unwanted baby, it will give the child any necessary medical care, then turn the child over to the state's foster care program.

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