Thursday, November 13, 2008

Can't Quit This Job

I hopped online this evening to spend some time studying for the GMAT (haven't told you about that, have I? More later...), and came across a startling news story. Nebraska recently passed a "safe haven" law designed to limit "dumpster babies".

Many states have the laws and they save babies' lives, I guess, so they're probably a good thing. Basically, they grant automatic immunity to any parent who drops off an unwanted baby at a hospital, police station or fire station (as opposed to the dumpster). We've all heard the stories: "Infant Found Dead In Dumpster: Teenaged Mother Didn't Want To Quit Cheerleading." And while it's despicable that an individual would shirk their parental responsibility and "get rid" of their baby, it's better than tossing them into the garbage can and allowing them to die.

But the Nebraska legislature (in typical lawmaker style) messed up royally. Apparently their deliberations bogged down when they were discussing the wording of the bill: they couldn't decide what the age limit should be (for the record, virtually every state in the Union has a Safe Haven law; all of them limit the immunity to parents who drop off an infant). Nebraska's legislature wanted to be a little more precise, apparently, but they couldn't figure out exactly HOW precise.

So by the time it was all said and done, they settled on "child." Which sounds safe, at least one would think.

It's not.

In the four months that the law has been in effect, 31 children have been dropped off. Of those 31, 18 were teenagers (five 17-year-olds, two 16-year-olds, six 15-year-olds, two 14-year-olds, three 13-year-olds and eight 11 and 12-year-olds).

And one 18-year-old (she was rejected; the mom had to take her home).

A statewide search is on for two teens, a brother and sister, age 14 and 17. They ran away from their mother while she was forcibly trying to remove them fromt her car at the hospital. Can't blame them.

It's unconscionable, if you ask me. Is it possible to simply "get rid of" a child? As horrible as this sounds, I can see a teen mother coming up pregnant with an unwanted child, and rather than aborting it, dropping it off (although, I don't know why they wouldn't simply choose adoption). But what's wrong with a person who has a child, takes a stab at raising them, and then when they realize they've messed up, or decide they're tired of the job, simply quitting?

Talk about some messed-up kids. Teenagers, folks; these are teenagers who are essentially being discarded.

You can't just quit this job! At least a normal person can't. As a parent, I can't even stomach the thought. And one would think that any rational human being would feel the same about their child (yeah, some of the kids were adopted, but I don't see how that matters).

I personally think it's indicative of our society. It reminds me of the story of Lot (from The Bible). If you've never read it, you should. The guy tried to use his two daughters as bargaining chips (and was willing to give them to a group of hormonally charged men to do with as they wished).

It's a pretty terrible place when your children mean so little to you that they take the status of refuse.

God help us.

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