You are not alone. That is also the message the Newborn Lifeline Network is trying to disseminate. The non-profit group operates a 24-hour, toll-free hotline (866-694-BABY) (866-694-2229) and a Web site at www.newbornlifeline.com "to prevent newborn abandonment by providing one-stop assistance for birthmothers in crisis nationwide." Volunteers have fielded more than 600 calls. They provide counseling and information about infant safe haven laws that allow parents to leave their babies in safe arms at hospitals, police stations and other designated areas without fear of prosecution.
The first such law was signed in 1999 by George W. Bush, then governor of Texas, after 13 babies were abandoned in the Houston area within a year. Once the law was advertised, four babies were turned over at safe havens in Harris County within 12 months. In Idaho, five babies have been left at safe havens since a similar law was passed in the summer of 2001. In New Jersey, 14 newborns have been left at police stations and emergency rooms since a safe haven law was passed three years ago.
Supporters of safe havens are asking public officials, private businesses and the media for more help in saving the lives of innocents by spreading word of the laws. What better time to do so than during the celebration of a sacred event, some 2,000 years ago, when a newborn babe found wintry refuge in a barn under the stars.