One last follow-up on the Nebraska safe-haven law. The legislature there is in special session now. They are trying to figure out the right age limit–since clearly 18 years is not it. I think they’ve settled for the moment on 30 days as opposed to three days. I thought this story was worth a look. The rationale for 30 rather than 3 days is that at three days you really don’t know how hard it is going to be.
That’s true, of course. The reality of caring for an infant does take a while to set in. But it strikes me that the passage of time really cuts in two opposite ways here. The longer you serve as a parent, the more problematic abandoning the child seems. It’s easier to contemplate at 3 days because there’s so much less time for the person to have been/become/be a parent. The problem with dropping off a much older child is that the person really has been a parent and so there’s a different consequence to abandonment.
I’m not saying that the thirty day rule is wrong. Perhaps it is the right balance. It’s just interesting to note that you are balancing here, between compassion for the child and understanding for the parent.