Baby Abandonment Laws in Canada
Baby abandonment is legal in most of the world in various forms.
In Canada, we have seen infrequent cases of parents abandoning their newborn children, usually mothers. In each case, the police and provincial attorneys general have publicly announced that they will not prosecute the mothers for child abandonment of newborn babies even though it is a Criminal Code of Canada offence.
These baby abandonment laws elsewhere are commonly referred to as "safe haven laws", " baby Moses laws" or in Europe, "hatchery laws".
Safe Haven Laws on Child Abandonment by Mothers Seriously Flawed and Gender Biased
April 20, 2006,
Canadian Children's Rights Council - Position Statement More ..
Criminal Code of Canada
PART VIII OFFENCES AGAINST THE PERSON AND REPUTATION
Duties Tending to Preservation of Life
218. Every one who unlawfully abandons or exposes a child who is under the age of ten years, so that its life is or is likely to be endangered or its health is or is likely to be permanently injured,
(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; or
(b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding eighteen months.
R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 218; 2005, c. 32, s. 12.
Prior to 2005, the maximum imprisonment was 2 years for either a summary conviction or for an indictable offence.
A newborn oriental baby girl was found abandoned in a Toronto church parking lot on May 21, 2005. The baby was taken to the hospital and found to be in good health.
The police, with the authority of the Attorney General of Ontario, announced that the mother would not be charged with abandoning the child if she came forth to give information about the child.
Women are the gatekeepers of human identity. Men are at a biological disadvantage and may not even know that they are a father. This makes it harder to keep the baby healthy, as there may be medical information about the baby that only the mother and father can provide.
Infant Safe Haven Laws in the U.S.A.
State Statutes Series 2004
Author(s): Child Welfare Information Gateway USA (formerly the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse)
Year Published: 2004
Current through November 2004
You may wish to review this introductory text to better understand the information contained in your State's statute. To see how particular U.S.A. States address this issue, visit the State Statutes Search.
State legislatures have felt the need to address infant abandonment and infanticide in response to a reported increase in the abandonment of infants. More ..
Unintended Consequences in the U.S.A.: "Safe Haven" Laws Are Causing Problems, Not Solving Them.
Annette Baran. Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, March 2003.
In recent years, most states in the U.S. have enacted "safe haven" laws intended to prevent the unsafe abandonment of infants. This report, written by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute and published in 2003, questions the efficacy of the laws and makes recommendations for alternative methods of preventing abandonments. More ..
News Paper Articles on Baby / Child Abandonment
Student identified as mother of abandoned baby
Canadian Press, February 6, 2007
SASKATOON An 18-year-old student living alone didn't know where to turn when she gave birth to a baby girl she left on a neighbourhood doorstep hours later.
The young woman came forward late Monday evening more than 48 hours after the newborn was found by the owners of the Saskatoon home. More..
Saskatoon police issue plea for mother of abandoned baby to come forward
Canadian Press, various news media throughout Canada, February 4, 2007
SASKATOON (CP) - Police issued a plea Sunday for a mother to turn herself in after abandoning a newborn on the back step of a home in -29 C temperatures.
A spokesman for Saskatoon police said they are concerned about the mother's health and want to know the circumstances that led her to drop the baby girl off at the northwest Saskatoon home Saturday morning.
"We're waiting for the mom to come forward," said Acting Staff Sgt. Lyle Schmidt. More..
Last chance for Baby Jane's parents to come forward
ABANDONED INFANT: Police promise no charges will be laid
Lena Sin, The Province, Vancouver BC, Sunday, December 19, 2004
A last-ditch plea is being made today for the parents of Baby Jane Doe, abandoned at a Vancouver bus stop, to contact the Ministry of Children and Family Development.
A legal ad has been taken out in today's Province to give the parents of Baby Jane notice that the ministry will be making an application for permanent custody of the baby.
But Deputy Minister Alison MacPhail is urging the mother or father to come forward before the Jan. 13 Vancouver court date so they can be given help. More ..
Ad seeks parents of abandoned B.C. newborn
CBC TV, December 19, 2004, Written by CBC News Online staff
VANCOUVER - The B.C. government placed a newspaper ad Sunday requesting the parents of an abandoned newborn baby girl come forward and claim her.
If they fail to do so, Baby Jane Doe who was found abandoned at a city bus stop three weeks ago, can be put up for adoption.
"We give them [the parents] notice and that way they can come to court and argue, or tell the court why we shouldn't have custody of the child," said Deputy Minister Alison MacPhail. More ..
To try to prevent tragedy, most US states have now legalized child abandonment, but critics ask if the new laws are saving babies.
The Christian Science Monitor - www.csmonitor.com , July 24, 2003, By Mary Wiltenburg, Staff writer
Wherever their thin cries go up, they make ghoulish headlines. Already this summer, newborns have been abandoned at a Washington, D.C., construction site and on a Pennsylvania roadside. Some have been found dead, others nearly so. Every state has its horror stories. More ..
USC student held in newborn's death
Associated Press, LA Daily News, U.S.A. October 14, 2005
A University of Southern California student was charged Thursday with murder for allegedly leaving her newborn son in a box next to trash bin where he was found dead.
Holly Ashcraft, 21, of Montana was charged with one count of murder and one count of child abuse, Deputy District Attorney Efrain Aceves said.
Ashcraft, who was arrested Wednesday, made a court appearance Thursday but her arraignment was postponed to Nov. 9. If convicted, she would face 25 years to life in prison. More ..
Man fights for custody of son
Child now in care of Prince Albert couple
The StarPhoenix, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, by Lori Coolican, Saturday, September 16, 2006
Ever since an anonymous caller tipped him off about his impending fatherhood, a Saskatoon man has been fighting for custody of his baby son, who was mysteriously whisked out of a local hospital within days of birth and is now living with a well-to-do Prince Albert couple.
"At what point do you sit back and say, 'Laws have been broken here?' " Rick Fredrickson said in an interview Friday. "I just wish someone could crack this thing open and find out who was involved." It was mid-April and Fredrickson's ex-girlfriend Tricia -- not her real name -- was almost due to deliver their child when he found out she was pregnant.
The anonymous caller, who identified himself as a relative of Tricia's, warned Fredrickson that she was telling people he was the father and vowing he would never get to see the baby, though she didn't want to keep it herself. More ..