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Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: December 12, 2018 01:53 PM
From: Senator Michele Brooks
To: All Senate members
Subject: Adding Urgent Care Centers to the Safe Haven Law
In the near future, I plan to once again introduce legislation amending Pennsylvania’s Newborn Protection Act, to add urgent care centers to the list of “safe havens” where a parent may surrender his or her newborn.

This bill supplements provisions passed recently in House Bill 1139, now Act 68 of 2017, which added emergency medical responders to the list of caregivers who may accept newborns relinquished by a parent.

Urgent care centers have been growing in popularity and number in recent years. According to the Urgent Care Association of America, 7,357 urgent care centers operated nationwide in 2016 – jumping by 10 percent in just one year. From most locations in the Commonwealth, several urgent care centers can be found within a ten-mile radius, both in free-standing buildings and in strip malls and office complexes. Staffed by trained medical personnel, they would be another safe place that could accept newborns, broadening the list of currently designated caregivers, which already includes hospitals, police stations and fire stations.

Safe Haven Laws, or “Baby Moses” Laws, have been passed in numerous states since the 1990s after a string of heart-breaking infanticide cases in the Midwest.

This bill and similar laws are designed to decriminalize the leaving of an unharmed infant with a responsible caregiver, protecting infants from harm by providing a warm, secure haven for them when a parent is no longer able to care for a child.

This bill was Senate Bill 1246 of 2017-2018, and was cosponsored by Sen. Argall, Bartolotta, Brewster, Browne, Costa, Hutchinson Greenleaf, Reschenthaler, Rafferty, Scarnati, Kim Ward, and Vulakovich.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation to protect newborns.

Introduced as SB86