Bill would allow mother to safely surrender a baby within 14 days

Posted at 10:00 PM, Feb 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-11 23:37:18-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A state lawmaker wants to give mothers more time to decide whether to surrender their newborn babies without legal consequences.

A bill from Sen. Dawn White (R-Murfreesboro) would extend Tennessee's "Safe Haven" law, giving mothers up to two weeks to decide whether to keep their child, or surrender them to someone in an approved facility -- no questions asked. Right now, that time limit is just three days.

Approved locations include hospitals, community health clinics, and 24-hour-staffed police and fire stations. A full list can be found on this website.

White says a mother deserves more time to make the decision to potentially give up her parental rights and surrender her child.

"There's so much emotion going through, there's so much she's having to consider, we just wanted to give her a longer time period, the opportunity to surrender that child," White said.

Most states across the country have a safe haven window that lasts for 30 days.