Assembly Republican Press Release -
The General Assembly approved legislation sponsored by Assemblywomen Mary Pat Angelini and Donna Simon that expands where parents in crisis can give up their newborns legally to also include firehouses and emergency squads. The bill, A-4149, was combined with a Senate version that passed last year.
“The goal is to prevent the further loss of innocent lives,” said Angelini, R–Monmouth. “This no-questions-asked approach has helped many parents who see themselves as unable to care for their newborns find an alternative that doesn’t endanger their children. No mother should feel so desperate with no place to turn.”
After high-profile cases involving teen mothers who killed their self-delivered newborns, New Jersey’s Safe Haven Infant Protection Act was passed in 2000. At least 60 infants have been saved under the program and the number of illegal child abandonments has decreased by 60 percent, according to the Department of Children and Families.
Calls to expand the state’s program came in January after a newborn baby died in Pemberton when her 22-year-old mother allegedly killed her by setting her on fire.
“The terrible tragedy in Pemberton reinforces the need to make mothers aware that there are multiple options for leaving an infant in a place where they will receive proper care,” said Simon, R-Somerset, Hunterdon, Mercer and Middlesex. “Expanding the number of authorized facilities increases the chances that a child’s life will be saved. Our goal is to protect babies who would otherwise be abandoned or abused.”