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Patsy Summey spent more than a decade with a nonprofit providing education about Texas’ safe haven law. She distributed signs, gave presentations, helped with public service announcements and cold emailed fire stations. The lifelong educator wanted to spread the word: If people were searching for a way to safely and legally relinquish their newborn babies, there is a law to help them.
“Some, because they don’t know about it, they don’t realize, ‘I can go in the hospital and have this baby, leave and not take the baby with me.’ They can do that,” Summey said.
The idea behind Texas’ safe haven law is simple. Any parent can bring their baby who is less than 60 days old to a fire station, hospital or EMS station and hand it over, no questions asked. If the baby is unharmed, parents face no criminal charges and the Department of Family and Protective Services takes custody.
Texas passed the law in 1999 under Gov. George W. Bush. Since then, every other state has followed suit. Lawmakers envisioned the law as a solution to