Newport News mother who pushed for Virginia’s ‘safe haven’ law believes expansion will save more babies

Safe haven law
Posted at 6:54 PM, Jul 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-09 11:57:56-04

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Sonya Nachman’s scrapbook is filled with memories and accomplishments of a groundbreaking law the Newport News mother and grandmother fought for.

“It’s a win-win situation for everybody,” Nachman said. “The baby wins; the mother wins. Everyone wins.”

It’s a fight that goes back nearly two decades.

Nachman pushed to get the ‘safe haven’ law passed in Virginia after it was adopted in more than two dozen states.

The law offers legal protections for parents who safely turn over their babies to a hospital or EMS agency, including fire stations and rescue squads.

“The baby would be safe and hopefully be with a family who loved it and could take care of it and give it certain advantages, and the mother - who could be a very young child - really, would also get another chance,” said Nachman.

Now, the timeframe to surrender a baby has been extended in the state legislature. The amended law went into effect on July 1, 2022, allowing parents to hand over their newborn up to a month old instead of 14 days old.

Janet Glasofer fought alongside Nachman nearly 20 years ago to get the law enacted.

“This is our story right here,” Glasofer said.

For the Newport News mother, the journey to help see the law through is personal.

“Our daughter was a child who was involved in this kind of situation,” said Glasofer. “We knew about her when she was four days old, and we got our hands on her when she was two weeks.”

Years ago, Glasofer’s daughter was found left alone in a hospital. She was just a few days old.

“I’m grateful my daughter was cared for for four days and was left in a safe place where she would be found and cared for,” Glasofer said. “That doesn’t happen to all babies, and this law makes it much more likely to happen.”

Soon, more people will know about the law. The state’s Department of Social Services is working on launching an awareness campaign and will soon set up a 24-hour hotline.