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Bill Would Make Churches a Safe Haven for Unwanted Newborns

Flickr/Creative Commons/Olaf Gradin

When the 2016 legislative session begins next month, state lawmakers will consider expanding the Kentucky Safe Infants Act to include churches. 

The state law currently allows parents to drop off unwanted newborns, three days old or less, at police and fire departments, and hospital emergency rooms without being criminally charged. 

State Representative Donna Mayfield of Winchester, who has pre-filed legislation, thinks parents would feel less culpable surrendering their children at churches.

"Someone that's in the position of having a newborn baby and just doesn't know what to do, I could understand they were be hesitant to march into a police station or fire department," Mayfield told WKU Public Radio.  "I just think we should cover all the bases when trying to protect newborn infants."

Mayfield says her bill is supported by several child advocacy and religious groups across the commonwealth.  Since the Kentucky Safe Infants Act became law in 2002, 38 infants have been dropped off at safe havens.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.