According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, an estimated 30,800 babies were abandoned in hospitals in 1998. The average cost to hospitals per baby is $520 a day.

Michigan recently passed the Safe Delivery of Newborns Law. This law creates safe havens for abandoned infants less than 72 hours old. Basically, effective January 1, 2001, a parent can drop his or her baby off at a hospital, police station, or fire station and not be prosecuted. Abandonment of a baby at an emergency service provider is surrendering custody of the child. Unless the parent goes through the appropriate channels within 28 days requesting that custody be reinstated, the infant is put up for adoption. Of course, emergency service providers were not necessarily cheery about the new bill. The full text of the bill can be found at

Other states have similar laws. Texas was the first state to pass such a bill.

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