202 infants surrendered since passage of 2001 "Safe Delivery" law

Aug 22, 2017

Michigan's so-called "Safe Delivery" law has resulted in 202 newborns being safely surrendered since 2001.

The law lets a woman give up a newborn, anonymously if she wishes, at police and fire stations and hospitals.

Nearly all of the infant surrenders have taken place at hospitals, and most of those were at the same hospital where the woman gave birth. 

Program consultant Jean Hoffman says it's often the most desperate and frightened new mothers who have not heard about the law. So publicity efforts focus on trying to educate others who could help her.

"Oftentimes a relative, a teacher, a friend or a significant other will be aware of the law," she says.  The program needs continuous outreach efforts, so volunteers who can distribute posters and pamphlets at churches, hair salons, social service agencies, and other locations are always being recruited.

Hoffman says she's convinced the law has reduced the number of illegal and unsafe abandonments.

But efforts to prove it are very difficult because no one agency keeps a database of abandoned newborns.