CHICAGO – August 11, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation increasing the facilities considered “safe havens” for parents seeking to safely give up their newborns. House Bill 106 expands the places where parents can legally relinquish newborn infants to include college or university police stations and any district headquarters of the Illinois State Police (ISP).
“Every parent wants their child to be raised in a healthy, happy environment,” said Governor Quinn. “Expanding our safe haven laws to include universities and Illinois State Police facilities will help make sure that more parents are able to relinquish infants in a safe and legal way.”
Under Illinois’ Safe Haven Law, parents may relinquish an unharmed newborn, 30-days-old or younger, to personnel at a hospital, emergency medical care facility, police or fire station. Parents may give up their child anonymously and without fear of prosecution for abandonment.
House Bill 106, sponsored by Rep. Naomi Jakobsson (D-Champaign) and Sen. Donne Trotter (D-Chicago), expands the definition of “police station” to include any district headquarters of the ISP and any campus police department located on any public or private college or university when employees of the police department are present.
“Unfortunately, there are times when distraught new parents believe that they have no choice but to abandon their child. Campus police stations have realized that they could serve as a safe and convenient location for students to take advantage of the Safe Haven Act,” Rep. Jakobsson said. “The ultimate objective is to make certain that these babies are not abandoned in an unsafe way or put into dangerous situations. I am glad that this legislation is being signed into law, and I thank Governor Quinn for his support.”
Since Illinois adopted the Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act in 2001, 64 newborns have been relinquished at safe haven facilities. More than 44 percent of unplanned pregnancies occur in mothers ages 18-24, which prompted the expansion of safe havens to university settings. Illinois is the first state in the nation to include university police in its safe haven laws.
The new law goes into effect immediately.