Police say you can give your baby up, but there’s a time and place to do so

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Investigators are trying to determine whether to charge a mother accused of abandoning her baby at a truck stop Saturday morning.

It's unclear why she did it, but a state law doesn't back her case.

In Tennessee, mothers can give up their baby within 72 hours of birth. She can remain anonymous and not face prosecution as long as the baby isn't abused.

Safe havens include hospitals, birthing centers, community health clinics, out-patient clinics and fire and police stations manned 24 hours.

"It's posted outside the women's center. It's a little carriage, and it says safe haven," said Clinical Nurse Specialist Bonnie Miller. "If you see that little safe haven sign, you know you can safely drop your child off and know we will take care of it."

Miller works at the Regional Medical Center, one of the many safe havens in Memphis.

"It's not always they don't care. It's that they do care about their child," said Miller.

In Mississippi, it's the same deal except it has to be a hospital, medical/EMS provider or licensed adoption agency.

In Arkansas, parents have up to 30 days and can go to medical providers, law enforcement agencies or 24-hour fire stations.

The safe haven law wouldn't have applied to a mother who allegedly abandoned her 11-month-old baby Saturday morning in a Love's truck stop bathroom on Lamar and American Way.

Police said the baby is okay, and they were able to track down the mother. The child has been turned over to child services.

Child services is now involved, and police said charges are still on the table.

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