Horrific Incident Inspires Bill to Protect Unwanted Newborns
Following a horrific incident this past winter, in which 22-year-old Hypernkemberly Dorvilier of Burlington County allegedly set her newborn baby on fire and left it in the middle of the road, a New Jersey lawmaker is pushing for expansion of the state's Safe Haven Infant Protection Act.
The law allows individuals to give up unwanted, newborn children at police stations or hospital emergency rooms. Dorvilier is now facing murder charges connected with the January tragedy.
"My bill stipulates any firehouse or first aid squad that has somebody there 24/7, that those type(s) of facilities would be added to the list of Safe Haven sites," said Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini (R-Ocean Twp/Monmouth Co.), who is sponsoring the legislation along with four other Assembly members. "It's just such a senseless problem when moms feel they have no place to take their child, especially if (the mother is) a teenager or a very young woman. We have to make the information available to let everybody know that there are places where you can go, no questions asked, and you can drop off your child so they will be safe."
Since the Safe Haven Act went into effect 15 years ago, there have been 62 safe surrenders of newborns and 40 abandonment cases.
Angelini said her measure has been formally introduced in the Assembly Human Services Committee, but no action has been taken yet.
"This is one of those things in politics, you know, they say some things never surprise me in politics," she said. "This actually does, because it's a nonpolitical situation. I'm hoping to get nonpartisan support."
Angelini wants the bill to move forward before the Legislature breaks for the summer at the end of June.
"I urge everyone to reach out to their legislators and ask them to sign on to this bill, A692," she said.