Abandoned baby


Illinois now allows parents to relinquish babies up to a month old at designated locations. Matisha Goens was charged with leaving her 8-month-old, Ava Arie, at a Chicago police station. (Chicago Police Dept.)

The abandonment of an 8-month-old girl at a police station has set off a debate among child welfare advocates over the state's Safe Haven law:

In her blue, jail-issue uniform, Matisha Goens, 28, appeared in
Domestic Violence Court last week, her head down and her voice barely

Her alleged crime? Leaving her 8-month-old daughter at a South Side
police station, wearing a pink jacket and wrapped in a Winnie the Pooh
blanket. Officers found the baby New Year's Day, taking in all the activity from her stroller.

Though the girl appeared well cared for, she is beyond the age in which
parents can relinquish babies anonymously and without fear of
prosecution, causing some to wish for more discretion and others saying
that support, not legislation, is a better way to address abandoned

The debate, more specifically, is whether the age limit for leaving an infant at a hospital, fire station or police station should be raised beyond one month.  On Jan. 1, the Illinois age limit was raised to that from seven days. 

Just a quick thought: How are legislators, in their infinite wisdom to decide this issue? Should they now make it eight months? How about a year? 
Seems to me that sometimes rational enforcement of laws should be the guiding principle. Read this case, and you might agree that the police and/or prosecutor might have used discretion and not charged this young mother. Rigid prosecution could encourage young mothers in similar situations to abandon babies in garbage dumps or similar situations. That's not in the best interest of the child.

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