Summary of the House Committee Version of the Bill


SPONSOR:  Gibbons (Barry)

COMMITTEE ACTION:  Voted "do pass" by the Committee on Children,
Families and Health by a vote of 12 to 1.

This substitute creates the Safe Place for Newborns Act of
2001.  The substitute allows for an affirmative defense to child
abandonment and endangering the welfare of a child if the parent
voluntarily delivered the child to a staff member or volunteer
of a medical facility.

The substitute further requires:

(1)  That the newborn child be no more than 5 days old; and

(2)  The absence of physical abuse of the newborn child by the

The hospital must perform any necessary treatment to protect the
child's health or safety, and a parent's voluntary delivery of
the child to the hospital is implied consent to medical
treatment.  Hospitals, their employers, and staff members are
immune from civil damages or criminal prosecution for
discharging their required duties in good faith.  The hospital
must notify the Division of Family Services when the child is
ready for discharge.  Within 24 hours of notification, the
division must take custody of the child.  The division must
provide information about this process on its toll-free number
or through brochures and pamphlets.

FISCAL NOTE:  Not available at time of printing.

PROPONENTS:  Supporters say that 14 states have passed similar
legislation and another 24 states are currently considering
similar legislation.  Current Missouri law regarding endangering
the welfare of a child and child abandonment is not changed.  A
parent must follow the provisions of the bill in order to have
an affirmative defense to such charges.  They support the good
faith clause exempting hospitals from prosecution for
discharging their duties to protect the health and welfare of
the newborn child.

Testifying for the bill were Senator Gibbons; and Missouri
Hospital Association.

OPPONENTS:  There was no opposition voiced to the committee.

Joseph Deering, Legislative Analyst

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Missouri House of Representatives
Last Updated November 26, 2001 at 11:47 am