Do you remember the biblical account in Exodus 2:1-10 of the Princess daughter of Egypt’s King Pharaoh bathing in the Nile river, only to discover a basket made of bulrushes that cradled a beautiful Jewish baby boy. The baby’s unknown mother chose to give up her baby rather than suffer the inhumanity of Pharaoh’s edict to murder all Jewish baby boys. The baby, named Moses, which means ” drawn out of the water”, was taken in by the Princess and was raised in the royal household.
This is the model for today’s laws which allow parents to drop their baby off at a hospital, police station, church or other secure place, anonymously and with no fear of criminal repercussions.
Baby Moses Law, also called Safe Haven Law, is on the books of fifty American states and other countries throughout the world. Canada has no Safe Haven laws and is lagging behind other countries. Even the Islamic Republic of Sudan is ahead of Canada on this issue. Legislators in all Canadian Provinces deserve censure for their unwillingness to debate and enact these laws.
In April of 2010, doctors at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver took matters into their own hands and started a program called Angel’s Cradle. They received the Vancouver Police Department’s assurance that users of the service would not be prosecuted.
It sounds like a perfect solution for situations where mothers may abort; simply abandon their children in remote locations; or in desperation, kill them.
There are those, however, that criticize Safe Haven laws and cite examples of abuse to support their position. Arguments include the fear that mothers will use the law to rid themselves of a child, to the detriment of the biological father who may well wish to raise the child.
Nebraska’s law, enacted in July 2008, has been highly controversial. The original legislation allowed for “drop-offs” of children up to the age of eighteen years old. In the first four months, 35 children, mostly pre-teens, were deserted. Some of these children came from other States, such as Florida and Delaware. In November 2008 the law was amended so that it only applied to babies thirty days or younger.
The original Nebraska law was misconceived and the mischief it caused has now been remedied.
Do the benefits of these laws trample the critic’s complaints? Resoundingly, yes. Consider the following:
– A twenty year old mother from Alberta strangled her newborn with her thong underwear and threw the baby over the fence of her neighbour’s home;
– A nineteen year old mother in Saskatchewan gave birth to her child while shopping at Walmart. She left the baby in a toilet bowl. Fortunately, the baby was found and saved.
– A twenty-one year old mother from Alberta left her newborn in a garbage bag on her front doorstep.
There are dozens of other cases just like these ones. It is sad when human life is treated as trash to be thrown out.
We need justice for the innocent in Canada and we need it now.
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang