Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Hawaii’s safe-haven law—could it use some publicity?

by Larry Geller

Newborn found S-A 20130430

(article from Star-Advertiser p. B1, 4/30/2013)

In 2007, Hawaii passed its “Safe Haven” law, over Governor Lingle’s veto. The new law permits a mother to turn in an unwanted baby instead of abandoning it.

As I wrote in July 15 of that year, “The governor vetoed the Safe Haven bill which is now law. Will her departments implement it despite her objections? Will signs will be posted and information distributed so that the law is effective?” The answer, of course, was “no.” Lingle was the first US governor in history to veto a safe haven bill, and after it was passed, it got no publicity.

I don’t know how well it is publicized today, but suggest that we look at ways to let people know it is there for them.

Of course, we may never know the circumstances that moved the mom (or parents) to abandon this baby on Sandy Beach. We don’t know her motivation or mental condition. We also don’t know if she was aware of the Safe Haven law. But perhaps this incident suggests that it’s time to ask whether more needs to be done to let the public know there is an alternative to abandoning unwanted newborns.


Here’s a street sign in Boston (click for larger).


This is a logo used in Franfort, IL and appears on the Frankfort Fire Protection District Fire Prevention Bureau web page, for example.

Shouldn’t Hawaii consider ways to better publicize its Safe Haven law?


  • Lingle was first US governor in history to veto a Safe Haven bill
    Jul 14, 2007 – 48 states now have Safe Haven laws thanks to almost universal recognition that these laws save lives. Despite wide bi-partisan support in the ...
  • Disappeared News: Uncivil disobedience
    Apr 28, 2009 – What about the baby “Safe Haven” law that the governor vetoed but which ... But if you google Hawaii safe haven law you'll not find any link to a ...
  • Civil Beat learns that Hawaii doesn't enforce all of its laws
    Feb 14, 2012 – It's mandatory reporting of child abuse, it's the Safe Haven law, it's the law that Hawaii will join with five other states in looking for cheaper ...
  • Disappeared News: Lingle, like Bush, believes laws don't apply to her
    Mar 17, 2009 – Hawaii passed a Safe Haven law in an effort to provide distraught mothers with a safe alternative to abandoning unwanted newborns to die.
  • Disappeared News: Lingle's legacy: a long list of unpaid debts to ...
    Dec 25, 2007 – No, said the Governor, the letters had nothing to do with it. Ok. Linda Lingle became the first governor in history to veto a Baby Safe Haven or ...

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