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The Law of Unintended Consequences Strikes Again
Written By : McQ
October 9, 2008

And look how it has manifested itself this time:


Nebraska’s “safe haven” law, intended to allow parents to anonymously hand over an infant to a hospital without being prosecuted, isn’t working out as planned.

Got that? Key word “intended”. In fact, they intended to put a 72 hour limit on the age of the infant. But they didn’t:

When it was introduced in the Legislature, the bill had a presumed age limitation of 72 hours, said Todd Landry, director of the state’s Division of Children and Family Services.

“The original intent was to protect infants from the immediate danger of being harmed,” he said.

However, the law’s final language uses the word “child” and does not specify an age limit, leaving it open to interpretation. Other states’ laws specify the maximum age at which a child may be relinquished, ranging from 72 hours in several states to 1 year in North Dakota, according to the National Center for State Courts.

And, of course, we all know the definition of “child” has it’s age expanded all the time (see the SCHIP nonsense where the law tried to expand “child” to age 23).

The unintended consequence?

Frustrated parents are dumping their teenagers at Nebraska hospitals — even crossing state lines to do it — and the state Legislature has scheduled a special hearing to try to stem the tide.


Of the 17 children relinquished since the law took effect in July, only four are younger than 10 — and all four are among the nine siblings abandoned by a man September 24 at an Omaha hospital.

On Tuesday, a 14-year-old girl from Council Bluffs, Iowa, was abandoned at Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska, just across the Missouri River from Council Bluffs.

Kind of reminds you of the sex education bill Obama “intended” only to teach kindergardners about improper touching. Or even the social policy Congress intended to to expand homeownership by forcing banks to loan to marginal applicants.

Why we trust government with much of anything is beyond me.

Oh, I know – let’s hand them our health care too!

[Crossposted at QandO]

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