Monday, October 13, 2008

Abandonment issues

I'm so heartbroken about this, I can barely stand it. If you want to read the story I'll be talking about, I've posted the link at the bottom.

Before I start, let me just say that in general, I am for the safe-haven laws that make it legal to leave unwanted babies at state-licensed hospitals without legal repercussions. I think it's a positive alternative to abortion and a safe alternative to tossing newborns in a dumpster. The fact is, unplanned pregnancies are scary and inconvenient and can be tragic. Hormonal young mothers don't always think clearly and in my opinion, it's better to have an unwanted baby left in a safe environment than fed to the metaphorical wolves.

With that said, I'm seriously disturbed by the news that in Omaha, this law extends from newborns to 18 years of age. In fact, in the last year, nearly 18 children have been surrendered to Omaha hospitals. My disgust for this comes not from the law that allows teenagers to be abandoned, but the parents who have taken advantage of it. Most of the parents who have used this 'service' list uncontrollable behavior as their reason for leaving their children behind. I say, it's really no surprise that a child would act up if you're the kind of parent that would abandon your 14 year old daughter because she has a hard time listening.

I think our dollars would be better spent advertising free in-home guerrilla counseling (think Supernanny) than advocating abandonment.

While safe-haven is a brilliant alternative to ending the life of a baby, the consequences of a misbehaving teen aren't quite as dire. In that situation, both child and parent could benefit society much more if they can be taught the skills to cope with their dysfunction, instead of running away from it.

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