Infant Safe Haven Act passes Legislature

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“Mr. Speaker, I Lehislaturan Guahan finds that Guam has experienced an increase in abandonment of newborn infants under unsafe circumstances…”

Guam – The Newborn Infant Safe Haven Act passed the Legislature by a vote of 14 ayes and one excused absence on Tuesday afternoon. It’s a bill enjoying the support of senators who are also parents and sensitive to the needs of struggling families. It now goes to the governor’s desk for consideration.

Sponsor Sen. Mary Camacho Torres (R) touts the act as “relative to establishing a defense to prosecution for child  abandonment, protecting newborn infants from harm by providing a safe and anonymous means for mothers in distress to relinquish their [babies] to medical professionals.”

Torres addressed colleagues at the Legislature during introduction of the bill to the third reading file on Monday.

“Mr. Speaker, I Lehislaturan Guahan finds that Guam has experienced an increase in abandonment of newborn infants under unsafe circumstances, and that it is in the best interest of the community to protect newborn babies from such circumstances. The intent of Bill 322-34 is to update Guam law. The bill will relieve mothers from criminal liability for the act and allow mothers to remain completely anonymous.”

The introduction and progression of Bill No. 322-34 (COR) comes on the heels of a murder charge against a mother suspected of killing her own newborn infant, and a separate case of abandonment in which another mother left her live newborn on a neighbor’s front porch. Both cases happened on Guam.

In all, seven bills passed the Legislature on Tuesday afternoon, including legislation aimed at amending errors in the FY-19 budget bill. Check pacificnewscenter.com for a full update.