HomeArkansas newsArkansas legislature passes Safe Haven bill to protect mothers surrendering infants

Arkansas legislature passes Safe Haven bill to protect mothers surrendering infants

Little Rock, Arkansas – The Arkansas state legislature has approved a bill aimed at safeguarding mothers who opt to leave their newborns in a Safe Haven Box. The bill, known as SB195, received unanimous support on the Senate floor last week and passed with a vote of 91 to 0 in the House on Thursday. The bill serves as an amendment to the existing Safe Haven Law, which is operational in all states, permitting mothers to anonymously relinquish their newborns for adoption after birth.

“This bill simplifies the process and honors the intent of the mother to let the baby continue as a safe haven baby,” sponsor Charlene Fite (R-Van Buren) said.

According to Rose Mimms, executive director of Arkansas Right to Life, so far in Arkansas, three mothers have used this prerogative.

Fite did note, however, that there have been two instances in the state where the mother’s name was unintentionally revealed, as he remarked on the House floor on Thursday.

She claimed that in some situations, DHS is forced to intervene. Yet, if their name were to be revealed in the future, mothers would be shielded from any probe under her new rule.

“This bill simplifies the process and honors the intent of the mother to let the baby continue as a safe haven baby,” Fite said.

The possibility of more infants being turned over to a Safe Haven Box, according to Mimms, could ultimately be a good thing because those infants could find permanent homes.

“With abortion being illegal in Arkansas now, more women will have babies that they cannot or do not want to parent,” Mimms said.

Governor Sanders’ desk will now receive the measure for his signature. Fite claimed that no state agency is aware of any objection.

Olivia Martinez

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