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2006

Faculty Scholarship

Law and Society

Columbia Law Review

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Infant Safe Haven Laws: Legislating In The Culture Of Life, Carol Sanger Jan 2006

Infant Safe Haven Laws: Legislating In The Culture Of Life, Carol Sanger

Faculty Scholarship

This Article analyzes the politics, implementation, and influence of Infant Safe Haven laws. These laws, enacted across the states in the early 2000s in response to much-publicized discoveries of dead and abandoned infants, provide for the legal abandonment of newborns. They offer new mothers immunity and anonymity in exchange for leaving their babies at designated Safe Havens. Yet despite widespread enactment, the laws have had relatively little impact on the phenomenon of infant abandonment. This Article explains why this is so, focusing particularly on a disconnect between the legislative scheme and the characteristics of neonaticidal mothers that makes the use ...