ARIZONA LAW ! A. A person is not guilty of abuse of a child pursuant to section 13-3623, subsection B solely for leaving an unharmed newborn infant with a safe haven provider. B. If a parent or agent of a parent voluntarily delivers the parent’s newborn infant to a safe haven provider, the safe haven provider shall take custody of the newborn infant if both of the following are true: 1. The parent did not express an intent to return for the newborn infant. 2. The safe haven provider reasonably believes that the child is a newborn infant. C. The safe haven provider shall report the receipt of a newborn infant to child protective services of the department of economic security as soon as practicable after taking custody of the newborn infant. Child protective services shall report the number of newborn infants delivered to safe haven providers pursuant to section 8-526. D. A parent or agent of a parent who leaves a newborn infant with a safe haven provider may remain anonymous, and the safe haven provider shall not require the parent or agent to answer any questions. A safe haven provider shall offer written information about information and referral organizations. E. A safe haven provider who receives a newborn infant pursuant to this section is not liable for any civil or other damages for any act or omission by the safe haven provider in maintaining custody of the newborn infant if the safe haven provider acts in good faith without gross negligence. F. This section does not preclude the prosecution of the person for any offense based on any act not covered by this section. G. For the purposes of this section: 1. “Newborn infant” means an infant who is seventy-two hours old or younger. 2. “Safe haven provider” means any of the following: (a) A firefighter who is on duty. (b) An emergency medical technician who is on duty. (c) A staff member at a health care institution that is classified by the department of health services pursuant to section 36-405 as a hospital or an outpatient treatment center.
About Safe Haven Laws
Each state has a law in place to allow an unharmed infant to be relinquished to the proper authorities, no questions asked. The National Safe Haven Alliance works with states to promote these laws and increase public awareness that options exist. Together, the Alliance and states work together to save the lives of innocent infants and to protect the lives of their mothers.
Since the first safe-haven law was enacted in Texas in 1999, all U.S. states, as well as the District of Columbia, have passed safe-haven legislation, and every state has reported lives saved through the existence of these laws. Due to less-than-perfect-reporting methods, we are unsure of the exact number but know that in the past decade, these laws have saved well over 1,000 infants.
The late 1990s had a surge in infant abandonments, many resulting in the death of these innocent babies. In response to these incidents, a movement erupted to allow parents to relinquish custody of unharmed newborn infants without fear of prosecution. At the time, parents risked criminal prosecution for neglect or abandonment.
“Baby Safe Haven” laws or infant abandonment laws were created to remove the potential for prosecution so long as children were given unharmed and given to proper authorities. Since the first law was adopted in Texas in 1999, each state across the US has enacted a Safe Haven law. While each state’s law is different, they all ensure the safety of newborn infants and the protection of parents who decide to properly relinquish their child.
Safe Haven laws have been remarkably successful. Unfortunately, babies are still illegally and unsafely abandoned, in part because women do not know that they have another option. It is important that these laws are widely promoted and that women in need are informed that they are not alone.