Safe Haven Pregnancy Center slated to open in September

BABY: This newborn baby boy was left at the doorstep of a Dededo home on June 26. The baby's mother has been charged, and the baby is now in the care of Child Protective Services. Contributed photo

Sen. Mary Torres has introduced the Newborn Infant Safe Haven Act to give parents a safe place to relinquish newborn babies.

Torres previously told The Guam Daily Post that she believed such a law – often called a "Baby Moses" law – was necessary following an incident in which a baby boy was left on a stranger's doorstep in late June, as well as the fact that there is no doctor on the island who will perform a legal abortion.

"Desperate young mothers leave their babies because they believe they have no other options," Torres said in a press release.

The proposed law would allow only biological mothers to relinquish a baby.

According to the National Safe Haven Alliance website, most state safe-haven laws allow either parent to surrender an infant, and some allow a parent to designate agents who can surrender the infant on their behalf.

Tennessee is the only state that limits infant safe haven laws to mothers, while Minnesota and Maryland safe-haven laws allow mothers or someone acting on the mother's behalf to surrender an infant.

The NISHA law would allow "mothers in distress" to give up their baby, as long as the infant is 30 days or younger. Newborns can be surrendered to licensed medical professionals working with hospitals, birthing centers, fire stations and community health centers, according to the statement.

It would allow mothers to remain anonymous and would not subject them to criminal liability, also giving them the option to change their mind within 48 hours, so long as there is no evidence of abuse.

If a baby exhibits any evidence of abuse, the mother would not be protected by NISHA.

"While we may not have needed a measure like the Newborn Infant Safe Haven Act in times past, new situations have presented a new threat to our children," Torres said in the release.