H.C.R. NO.














URGING the department of health to conduct a feasibility study on improving hawaii's safe haven law by requiring THE IDENTIFICATION OF the NEWBORN CHILD AND PERSON PRESENTING THE NEWBORN CHILD TO safe haven PERSONNEL BEFORE ACCEPTING THE NEWBORN CHILD and the efficacy of safe haven laws in other states.




     WHEREAS, under Section 587D-2 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, a person may leave a newborn child with the personnel of a hospital, fire station, or police station or emergency services personnel without being subject to prosecution for abandonment of a child so long as the newborn child is presented unharmed and was born within seventy-two hours of being left at the hospital, fire station, police station, or with emergency services personnel; and


     WHEREAS, under chapter 587D of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, a person can abandon the newborn child anonymously; and


     WHEREAS, in February of this year, a person left an infant outside of Presbyterian/St. Luke Medical Center in Denver, Colorado, leaving the premises before any medical center personnel could identify the person leaving the infant or the health status of the infant, making it difficult for law enforcement authorities as the infant died shortly after being taken inside the medical center; and


     WHEREAS, our Safe Haven law was intended to provide a means for individuals to safely relinquish newborns in cases where a person determines that they will be unable to care for the newborn; and


     WHEREAS, Colorado has a Safe Haven law that is very similar to Hawaii's; and


     WHEREAS, neither Colorado's nor Hawaii's Safe Haven legislation was intended to make hospitals, fire stations, or police stations the dumping grounds for dead or dying infants; and


     WHEREAS, in the numerous instances of floor debate in the Hawaii State Legislature leading up to the passage of the Safe Haven Law as Act 7 of the 2007 Special Session, the identity of the newborn and the parent and the value of that information for medical history and heritage purposes was acknowledged as important, although the opportunity to allow a newborn to be abandoned at a safe haven in lieu of being abandoned to die was determined to be of primary importance by the 2007 Legislature; and


     WHEREAS, a requirement of presenting identification of the newborn and the person leaving the newborn at the safe haven would not prove to be a disincentive to those truly abandoning a newborn at a safe haven due to the perceived inability to care for the newborn, which is the primary purpose of the Safe Haven legislation; and


WHEREAS, because the ability to discern health and genetic information through identification of the newborn and, if a parent, the person abandoning the newborn at a safe haven, would increase the possibility of the better quality of life should medical issues arise; and


     WHEREAS, the recent Colorado case demonstrates the lack of efficacy of safe haven laws, and brings into question whether these laws serve their stated purpose, to save and protect babies; now, therefore,


     BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Twenty-fourth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2008, the Senate concurring, that the Department of Health is strongly urged to conduct a feasibility study on improving Hawaii's Safe Haven law by requiring the presentment of identification of the newborn as well as the person abandoning the child at a safe haven before safe haven personnel accept the newborn; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the study also include the efficacy of safe haven laws in other states; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Governor and the Director of the Department of Health.









Report Title: 

Identification requirement; Safe Haven; study