Deserting Mothers, Abandoned Babies, Lost Fathers: Dangers in Safe Havens
Parness, Jeffrey A.
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Safe Haven laws allow genetic mothers to abandon their newborns with no questions asked. Newborns are then protected from potential abuse or neglect and can be adopted at an early age into loving and welcoming families. Mothers are free to go on with their lives knowing that the best interests of their children have been secured. So what is wrong? The problem lies with the law's neglect of the genetic fathers. Seemingly, the parenthood opportunities often are lost without anyone asking the genetic fathers if they care. Furthermore, no matter how much better the children's lives, proper social policy demands that genetic fathers, who often have both paternity opportunity and childrearing interests, should not be so easily dismissed. Beyond social policy, it seems that American Safe Haven laws infringe upon the constitutionally-protected paternity opportunity and the childrearing interests of many genetic fathers. The governmental action that infringes on these interests is found in the systematic disregard of "many responsible fathers" who could be safeguarded without undue infringements on the privacy interests of genetic mothers, without undermining their children's best interests, and without diminishing the existing legal doctrine on access to abortion services.