Last week I had an opportunity to speak on a panel of the Christian Chamber of Commerce of San Antonio on the topic of adoption. One of the topics I had the opportunity to speak on was the Baby Moses Law of Texas.
The Baby Moses Law, also known as the Safe Haven Law, allows parents to legally abandon their children in their first 60 days of life with no questions asked. Yes, you read this correctly – with no questions asked. The purpose of the law is to provide a responsible option for distressed parents who see no alternative beyond infant abandonment.
The name of this law is rooted in the Biblical story of Moses whose mother protected him from a certain death at the hands of the Egyptians who had received orders to kill all male Hebrew infants. She put him in a basket made of “bulrushes” and placed it among the reeds by the river bank and he was saved, ironically, by one of the daughters of Pharaoh.
Texas passed the nation’s first Baby Moses law in 1999 after a sudden increase in deserted infants. Since the passage of the law signed by then-Governor George W. Bush, over one hundred babies have been safely relinquished and each state has enacted similar legislation to reduce infant abandonment. Unfortunately, many parents are unaware of this option and still resort to more negligent means during their distress. My law firm is committed to inform the communities in which I serve with information they may not be familiar with. Whenever I speak on this topic, I’m amazed how few have heard of the option although it’s been a law in Texas for nearly 20 years.
The Texas Baby Moses Law:
- Allows parents to legally abandon a child in the first 60 days of life after birth without fear of prosecution. The parent can use a third-party to take the child to the Baby Moses site. The parent is not required to be there for the transfer.
- Allows a provider of Emergency Medical Services to take possession of an unwanted baby.
- Allows courts of general jurisdiction to terminate the child/parent relationship if abandoned according to the stated rules.
The following locations in communities can serve as Baby Moses sites:
- Fire Stations
- EMS Stations
- Free Standing Emergency Rooms
It is my hope and prayer that all babies are wanted. But my experiences as an attorney and life have shown me that is not always the case. Unplanned, unwanted pregnancies are a reality. However, there are options and there are people and agencies waiting to help, especially the most vulnerable and fragile members of our communities – new-born babies. Know there are options. Know you are not alone.