Virginia’s Safe Haven Law designed to protect newborns

Posted at 7:02 PM, Dec 05, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-05 19:02:52-05

A newborn infant was left in a bag outside Maryview Medical Center in Portsmouth Saturday night.

Portsmouth Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Mary Harris says Virginia's Safe Haven Law is meant to offer protection to newborn infants and their parents if they are unable or unwilling to care for them.

"The child can be left anonymously and without fear that something's going to happen as long as the child is in good condition when it’s dropped off and it’s dropped off in a safe manner. That’s what we want people to do," Harris stated.

Justin Goldfarb was at the hospital Saturday night when he saw a woman drive up and leave a bag near the hospital entrance.

He shared only with NewsChannel 3 what happened next when the woman shouted to him.

"'Hey you, can you come here?' and I didn't think she was talking to me, so I walked over there and she was like, 'You need to take that bag inside,'" Goldfarb said.

Goldfarb went inside and got a nurse who discovered the baby inside the bag.

"When she picked up the bag, you could see the baby's face in the bottom of the bag bleeding," Goldfarb said.

The baby has been cared for by the Maryview staff and is doing well.

Since Portsmouth Police are still investigating the case, Harris declined to comment on it specifically.

However, she says the main concern is making sure the baby was not abused.

"One of the things that will be looked at is the intent of the person when they were dropping it off at the hospital," Harris said. "Whether they wanted to ensure that the child was put into safe hands."

Harris says the Safe Haven Law is meant to protect both newborns and their parents.

"There have been so many tragic circumstances over the years of children that are abandoned in other places and are left to die," Harris said. "This law was designed to provide another avenue for people to do that and offer them some sort of protection against traditional child abandonment statutes."

You can find out more about Virginia's Safe Haven Law here.


Man shocked when woman hands him bag with bloody newborn baby at door to hospital