LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A bill has passed through the Arkansas state legislature that is said to protect mothers who choose to surrender their infants to a Safe Haven Box.
SB195 passed 91 to 0 on the House floor Thursday, it also passed unanimously on the Senate floor last week.
The bill is an addition to the current Safe Haven Law that is active in all 50 states and allows mothers to give up their baby for adoption after birth, while remaining anonymous.
“This bill simplifies the process and honors the intent of the mother to let the baby continue as a safe haven baby,” sponsor Charlene Fite (R-Van Buren) said.
Executive Director of Arkansas Right to Life Rose Mimms said in Arkansas, three moms have invoked this right so far.
Fite said on the House floor Thursday, though, there have been two instances in the state where the name of the mother was accidentally leaked.
In those cases, she said, DHS has no choice but to get involved. Under her new law, though, mothers would be protected from any investigation if their name is leaked in the future.
“This bill simplifies the process and honors the intent of the mother to let the baby continue as a safe haven baby,” Fite said.
Mimms said she believes this could lead to more babies being surrendered to a Safe Haven Box, which ultimately can be a good thing because those babies can find forever homes.
“With abortion being illegal in Arkansas now, more women will have babies that they cannot or do not want to parent,” Mimms said.
The bill is now headed to Governor Sanders’ desk for signature. Fite said there is no known opposition from any state agency.