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Our Opinion: Extend the ‘safe harbor’ for infants

Reluctant support is the best we can offer for a proposal to extend Missouri’s “safe harbor” law.

Safe harbor is the moniker attached to a state statute that allow parents to avoid consequence if they turn over their babies within five days of birth to specified personnel, rather than abandoning or harming them. The authorized receivers include medical professionals, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and law enforcement officers.

A measure sponsored this session by Sen. Ryan Silvey, R-Kansas City, would provide three enhancements. It would:

• Extend the safe harbor period from five days to 45 days.

• Add maternity homes and pregnancy resources centers to the list of authorized recipients.

• And, because of an amendment added during Senate debate, give school districts the option to conduct 30-minute classes on provisions of the law.

Reluctant support is the phrase we use to temper idealism with reality.

In the best of all possible worlds, parents not only would keep their children, they would raise, nurture and love them.

In reality, however, some parents find themselves unable to do those things. The result can be neglect or abuse.

Silvey said his proposal is intended to protect infants from being neglected or abused by parents who do not have the skills, resources or temperament to raise children.

Ultimately, the health and well-being of children must be a priority.

For the protection of vulnerable infants, we support extending the “safe harbor” law.

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