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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: January 8, 2021 03:02 PM
From: Senator Michele Brooks
To: All Senate members
Subject: Adding Urgent Care Centers to the Safe Haven Law
I plan to reintroduce 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 legislation was Senate Bill 86 of the 2019-2020 session and cosponsored by Senators Scarnati, Phillips-Hill, Bartolotta, Brewster, Costa, K. Ward, J. Ward, White, Browne, Haywood and Muth.  This legislation unanimously passed the Senate on March 26, 2019.

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.

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

Introduced as SB305