State of Hawaii Adopts “Safe Haven” Law

Signing Bill into LawNo thanks to Governor Lingle. While Linda Lingle saw fit to veto 27 of the Bills that were approved and submitted for her rubber stamp, the Hawaii Legislature in turn overrode 11 of those vetoes. The Governor’s veto of HB 1830, the Abandoned Children; Safe Haven; Immunity from Prosecution Bill was one of the Legislature’s overrides. Hooray!

We touched on this briefly last month. I really thought Lingle would change her mind and not veto this Bill. I guess I was wrong… obviously. The amendments added to the Bill included an answer to the reason Lingle vetoed it the last time. So, I don’t get it. What’s the excuse this time?

The State of Hawaii added a little bit of a twist to the law. The parent relinquishing their parental rights needs to provide the agency receiving the child with the child’s family medical history and any known familial health issues. I think, in addition to that, they should confirm the child’s Hawaiian bloodline, if any. There are many programs that benefit those of Hawaiian ancestry and Kau Inoa is looking to expand on that. I think this kind of information will be important for the child to have later in life.

I know that a lot of people disagree with me and with this legislation. I know there are people who feel that suddenly everyone is going to abandon their babies all over town. I think that is just as ridiculous as the denial that we have an issue with infant abuse and mortality rates. For the most part, the people of Hawaii love their keiki and this law will never impact them. But for those exceptional cases of careless parents, perhaps the Safe Haven law will prevent things like this from happening right under our noses.

Mahalo to Kids and for the simple yet appropriate illustration.

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4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 M.R. Field // Jul 16, 2007 at 11:54 am

    Iowa recently started a $50,000 advertising campaign based on the Utah Safe Haven ads. Unfortunately, the week or two before the Iowa ads started, an 18-year-old, on vacation with her parents and boyfriend in Florida, gave birth in the hotel room and tossed the infant down the trash chute. The parents and boyfriend kept asking if the young woman was pregnant, but she kept saying, “no.” I think there have been something like 8 babies handed over in the few years that Iowa has had its safe haven law. In Iowa, the parent may be asked for a name and medical history, but it is not required to be provided. Personally, I am disturbed that the emphasis is put totally on what it means to the infant. That is extremely important, but I also think there needs to be emphasis placed on what it means to the future of the young woman, and sometimes the young father, if she doesn’t use the safe haven laws. I also would like to see a national safe haven process, so women who are travelling know they can go to hospitals, clinics, fire stations, or wherever is decided to be acceptable, and hand over the infant. There also needs to be consistency in the time frame, since Iowa gives a parent up to 14 days but other states only give 3 days in which to act.

  • 2 Evelyn // Jul 16, 2007 at 6:12 pm

    Thank you, thank you, and thank you again! I don’t understand why everyone tries so hard to find the bad in this!

    I appreciate your visit and your comment is a wonderful addition to this post! I just hope the State of Hawaii is smart enough to publicize that this law is now available.

    That story makes me want to throw up but it may be the only way to get people to listen — they NEED to hear those stories!

    There are risks both ways, I know, but I feel, and obviously you do too, that it is better to have the law. Iowa may feel bad about being too slow on the publicity thing, but they can be happy about the eight that the law has saved!

    I also agree that consistency is a good thing across the Nation!

  • 3 Chris // Sep 25, 2008 at 7:53 am

    This story enraged me so much that I couldn’t breathe properly. I’m glad your legislature overturned your Governor’s short-sightedness.

    Here’s what I don’t get: this law is nothing but positive for everyone involved. The parent giving away his/her can get their life in order and hopefully “do better” the next time; the child benefits by being placed in a loving home; the adoptive parents benefit from bring a new child into their home. This is a win-win-win situation! Why would this law NOT pass?

  • 4 Evelyn // Sep 25, 2008 at 9:37 am

    You know, Chris, I was pretty stunned by it but I guess the Governor saw the hand writing on the wall and she envisioned just the kind of thing that happened in Nebraska.

    I too don’t understand why she would try to veto it but, after reading the article your name links to, I certainly can see where her mind went. I would just like to hope that incidents like that would not happen in Hawaii very often, if at all.

    We love our kids here and parting with them is usually not an option for Hawaii parents — not by choice anyway.

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