A baby who appeared to be less than 24 hours old was found abandoned in a bathroom at Northwest Medical Center on Tuesday, the Arizona Daily Star reports.
While that may not be the ideal move for a mom to make, it was the right one, according to authorities. Under Arizona law, mothers have 72 hours to drop their newborn off at "safe havens" like hospitals and fire stations. The law was enacted to prevent newborn injuries and deaths by giving overwhelmed mothers a safe place to leave their children.
Authorities said the infant appeared healthy. "The baby was well cared for ... no neglect, no malicious intent," Pima County Sheriff's spokeswoman Renee Carlson said. "This was an appropriate location for a baby to be dropped off."
Unfortunately that's not always the case. Last month, an infant was left abandoned at an apartment complex in Tucson, KVOA-TV reports. The apartment manager told police that someone rang her doorbell and when she opened the door she found a duffel bag containing the infant.
"People are scared when they are making those choices and anonymity is important," Carlson told the Daily Star. Otherwise, "we're going to have babies in trash cans."
That's why Arizona legislators passed the state's safe haven law. The law protects mothers who abandon their infants at designated locations.
Infants younger than 4 days old can be dropped off at safe haven locations, including hospitals, fire stations, private welfare agencies, adoption agencies, and churches. While the procedure is completely anonymous, mothers are asked to hand their child to an employee at the location.
The child will receive a checkup at a medical facility before being placed in the care of Child Protective Services. From there, the infant will probably be placed in a foster home or with adoptive parents.