April is “Save Abandoned Babies Month” in Illinois, and the Chicago Police Department has been raising awareness of life-saving Safe Haven Laws in an effort to save babies’ lives. According to local station WTTW, Chicago Police plan to “distribut[e] thousands of information cards across the city, detailing the law in hopes of expanding community awareness.” The department has also been spreading awareness through social media:
The law allows a desperate parent to legally relinquish an unharmed newborn 30 days old or younger to staff at any Illinois hospital, police or fire station without fear of prosecution. No questions need to be answered. #ILSafeHaven pic.twitter.com/iZTr7cAnKR
— Chicago Police (@Chicago_Police) April 23, 2018
To date, Illinois’ Safe Haven Law has saved the lives of 126 babies since 2001, who would otherwise have been abandoned and may not have survived. CPD Superintendent Eddie Johnson told WTTW, “Once you know about the safe haven law, talk about it. You might just save a life, and as we know, there’s nothing more precious than the gift of life.” CFD Commissioner Jose Santiago likewise stated, “If there is any parent who is feeling the weight of the world on their shoulders, the Chicago Fire Department will be here when you need us, and no baby will ever be turned away.” Officers got the opportunity to meet with children who were saved because of the state’s Safe Haven Law. At approximately seven minutes into the video below are some of the children who have been saved by this law in Illinois, and one officer shares the story of how he was on duty when one little girl — now a young lady — was brought in:
There is, indeed, nothing more precious than the gift of life, and these children all matter. They are lives saved because we as a society sent the message that they matter. As pro-lifers, we also acknowledge that children are valuable not just at birth, but while still in the womb. They, along with their mothers and their fathers, are valuable human beings. It is the hope of pro-lifers that those who support wonderful laws like Safe Havens would begin to draw connections to the fact that children should never be considered disposable things to throw away in garbage bags — or as medical waste.
Babies have been saved in other states, as well, thanks to Safe Haven Laws, which allow mothers to leave their infants, usually 30 days old or younger, with first responders, no questions asked. Parental rights are not terminated until at least 60 days afterward. Until that time, the children “are cared for by a prospective adoption family,” says WTTW. Then, “if the birth parents don’t petition for custody during that period, their parental rights are permanently dismissed and the child can be adopted.”
Babies like Morgan Hill, who was abandoned in a dumpster until a construction worker heard her crying and saved her life, die far too often. This shouldn’t happen, and Safe Haven Laws (and likewise, baby boxes) are a way to prevent that — and make sure more children just like Morgan survive to live life to the fullest.