“You can drop a newborn off at a police department, fire station and ambulance crew without fear of criminal prosecution,” Chief Tom McClain of the Willard Police Department says.
This is Missouri’s safe place for newborns law. The law allows people to permanently give up their child. The child has to be less than 45 days old. McClain says there’s one limitation to this law.
“So long as there’s no evidence that the baby was neglected or abused prior to the drop-off,” McClain says.
This law is being brought up as legal battles continue over the license for Missouri’s only clinic that provides abortions.
Organizations like Great Circle, which provides emergency shelters for kids in a situation where they are no longer wanted, are prepared to take action in an event like this.
“If an individual came to the door with a child we would bring them in and try to talk with them about what’s going on, how we can help, what the next step can be,” Emergency Services Manager at Great Circle Holly Hunt says.
Hunt says if a child shows up alone at great circle’s door, it’s a different story.
“We would bring the child in, contact authorities, make sure medical attention is addressed immediately and contact law enforcement so we can take the appropriate steps from there on,” Hunt says.
Chief McClain says he knows parents can seem irresponsible for permanently letting go of their child, but it’s actually the most courageous thing a parent in a less than ideal situation can do.
“There are so many people in our community that are trained and ready to foster and be nurturing and caring. This is an act of courage and selflessness,” McClain says.