Maryland: 'Safe Haven' Law Goes Unused

Family planning officials say no one has taken advantage of Maryland's Safe Have Law three years since its passing.

WBAL-TV 11 News reporter Kerry Cavanaugh reported Baltimore County police continue to investigate whether a Villa Julie College student will face charges after leaving her newborn in a Prince George's County storm drain ( Full Story ).

State officials hope young mothers know they can leave their babies at a safe place -- no questions asked.

Sue Fitzsimmons, the director of the Baltimore City Department of Social Services, said her department offers pregnant women the chance to see a doctor and speak to a counselor.

"I can't imagine what's happening in their lives that that's the only option they think they have," Fitzsimmons said. "They are putting their life at risk and the child's life at risk if they don't get prenatal care."

Fitzsimmons said many women desperate to hide or deny their pregnancies don't get the message. In 2002, Maryland passed the state's Safe Haven Law, aimed at saving unwanted newborns.

Cavanaugh reported that the law allows mothers to leave infants less than 3 days old in a safe place -- like a hospital, police station or firehouse. Under the law, the mother will not face charges as long as she leaves the baby with a responsible adult.

But the state's Department of Human Resources said no one has ever taken advantage of the law.

Still, Fitzsimmons hopes it will, one day, save a life.

"Anything that saves a child, that gives a person an option rather than abandoning their child in an unsafe circumstance is worthwhile," Fitzsimmons said. "We just hope they come to us when they're pregnant and have problems so we can help them plan."

DHR told 11 News that three babies were abandoned in the state in this year alone. The Villa Julie student's child is the only one that died.

Stay with TheWBALChannel.com and WBAL-TV 11 News for the latest family news updates.

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