Arkansas panel OKs expanding ‘safe haven’ law for newborns

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — An Arkansas legislative panel has endorsed a proposal to expand the state’s law allowing people to anonymously surrender a newborn without fear of criminal prosecution.

The Senate Public Health Committee on Wednesday approved the proposed changes to the state’s “safe haven” law. The proposal added fire stations that are manned 24 hours a day to the locations where babies can be surrendered. The law currently only allows babies to be surrendered at medical providers or law enforcement agencies.

The bill also allows the use of a “baby box” at safe haven locations for surrendering a baby. The proposal requires the box include a dual alarm system that notifies authorities once it’s been used.

The proposal now heads to the full Senate for a vote.

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