Trenton, N.J. – Legislation requiring high schools to teach students about New Jersey’s Safe Haven Infant Protection Act goes to the Senate for consideration after unanimously passing the Assembly today.
In March, an 18-year-old Neptune High School student suffocated her newborn before the father threw the baby in a dumpster. Following the incident, Anthony M. Bucco called fellow sponsor Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin who agreed to advance their bill (A1380).
“If we can save even just one life, it will have been well worth the effort to educate teenagers on the Safe Haven law,” said Bucco (R-Morris). “We are reaching a portion of the population who are particularly susceptible to acting impulsively and equipping them with the information they need to make the right decision.”
The Safe Haven law allows parents to drop off their unwanted and unharmed infants who are younger than 30 days old at police stations, emergency departments, first aid squads and fire stations with no questions asked and without fear of prosecution.
“Safe Haven Infant Protection already has protected many precious newborns, and this bill should save even more infant lives,” said Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-Morris). “With this law, we make sure New Jersey remains a leader in offering compassionate outlets for parents in crisis.”
Most infant homicides occur at the hands of new mothers on the day of birth. More than half of all illegal abandonments in the nation result in death. Since New Jersey’s Safe Haven Infant Protection Act was passed in 19 years ago, 71 babies have been legally surrendered.
If the legislation becomes law, public school students in grades 9 through 12 will start learning about the Safe Haven law starting in the 2020-2021 school year.