(Salt Lake City, UT) – An investigation in Georgia is revealing grim details of a 21-year-old woman who gave birth alone in her family home. It is suspected that the woman then stabbed her newborn to death. She is now in a hospital recovering from blood loss due to the delivery and is under arrest for suspicion of murder.
“This horrific incident did not have to happen. There are alternatives and women need to be informed about safer options here in Utah,” says Utah Rep. Patrice Arent.
One alternative is adoption; another is the Utah Newborn Safe Haven law, sponsored by Rep. Arent more than 10 years ago.
November is National Adoption Month. Planning ahead to give a newborn to an adoptive family is the best alternative for a woman who isn’t ready to take care of a child. When adoption is not arranged prior to the birth of the newborn, Utah’s Newborn Safe Haven law allows anyone to turn over a newborn to any staff member at a 24-hour hospital ― no questions asked.
“The law protects newborns from injury or death by providing a safe place, but also protects the identity of the person giving up the newborn,” said Nan Streeter, R.N., Director, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Utah Department of Health. “This identity protection may save lives. It is important for the public to be aware of this option so that tragic events like these don’t happen in Utah.”
Women who harm or abandon their infants come from all walks of life; however, research shows most are young, healthy, unmarried, of various races and incomes, and are probably not addicted to drugs or alcohol. These women have been silent about their pregnancies while living with a relative or friend, and have had no prenatal care.
They feel isolated and are in denial.
A toll-free 24-hour information hotline is available at 1-866-458-0058. Women in a crisis pregnancy can also visit the Safe Haven website at www.utahsafehaven.org. The site includes more information on Utah’s law, frequently asked questions, and contact information for Utah hospitals that take newborns.
Adoption centers can be found at http://www.myadoptionagencies.com.
UDOH Pregnancy Risk Line
Rep. Patrice Arent
Utah Newborn Safe Haven Advisory Cmte.