Abandoning Your Newborn in Yakima? It’s Legal in The State
Yakima Police say they've had people abandoned babies but they've never seen anyone give birth on a city sidewalk and then walk away. That's what happened in Portland, Oregon on Wednesday where a woman gave birth on a city sidewalk and then walked away after the baby was born.
Community members quickly stepped forward to help
Members of the community rushed to the aid of the baby covering it until police arrived. Police contacted the mother rushed her and the baby to a hospital. The mother was placed on a police officer hold for a mental evaluation. Officers say both appeared healthy at the time of the incident. Both are now in good condition with the baby still in the hospital.
Lawmakers saw this problem years ago and enacted a state law
Mothers who have babies and then abandon them is nothing new in the Pacific Northwest or Washington State. In fact more than five years ago lawmakers in the state of Washington enacted the 'Safety of Newborn Children Law' which protects mothers from prosecution who abandoned babies. The law says within 72-hours of the birth a mother can leave an infant at any hospital or fire station without facing prosecution.
The newborn must be left at specific locations
The law says "you must leave your baby with a qualified person at one of the following 3 locations to avoid prosecution:
The emergency department of a hospital in Washington State. This is the safest drop-off location. A fire station during its hours of operation. The law states that you may drop off your infant at a fire station, however, this is not the safest drop-off location. Some fire stations may not be staffed, or may be empty for extended periods of time while crews respond to emergencies. Under the Safety of Newborn Children Law, you must leave your infant with a qualified person.
Federally designated rural health clinic during its hours of operation."
Yakima Police say as long as the newborn is unharmed from abuse or neglect the "guarantee of anonymity and immunity from prosecution applies."