"This is a bill designed to deter a parent from abandoning a newborn to die."
- Rep. LeDoux
(Juneau) - The Alaska House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation to allow parents to surrender babies shortly after birth without fear of prosecution. HB 322 was sponsored by Representative Gabrielle LeDoux (R-Kodiak).
Alaska is one of four states in the nation that has yet to pass legislation that would allow women to leave their infant in the physical custody of a person who they believe to be a peace officer, physician, hospital employee, or a volunteer with or employee of a fire station or emergency medical service.
"This is a bill designed to deter a parent from abandoning a newborn to die. Studies show that people who commit infanticide are typically young and unmarried, in deep denial of their pregnancy, have concealed their pregnancies. These women have usually given birth in private and then abandoned their infant in such a way that leads to the baby's death. This bill is an attempt to stop that pattern and give women a reasonable option that benefits the child," said Representative LeDoux.
Representative LeDoux continued, "The bill is an example of what legislators can accomplish, whether they are Republican or Democrat, pro-choice or pro-life, when they work together for the benefit of Alaska's children."
HB 322 has the support of the Office of Children's Services, the Alaska Women's Lobby and Planned Parenthood of Alaska. It now moves to the Senate for consideration.