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The Daily Wildcat

92° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Tucson spots offer ‘safe

    A local program provides mothers who give birth to unwanted babies with a safe, anonymous option when it comes to giving up the child.

    The Tucson Safe Baby Program has brought together agencies that will accept newborn infants from a parent or friend. Several of the designated sites are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

    “”They can just drop off their baby within the first 72 hours of their birth and then they just go up to somebody, like, at the front and say, ‘I want my baby to be a safe baby,'”” said criminal justice administration senior Alexandra Pesqueira, whose stepmother was one of the people who brought the program to Pima County. “”If the mom or the parent doesn’t want to go and drop off their baby, like they’re embarrassed or scared, a friend can do it for them.””

    Both University Medical Center and Tucson Medical Center are facilities prepared to accept any newborns at any time, according to the Tucson Safe Baby Program Web site. Other locations can be found on tucsonsafebaby.org.

    “”What we wanted to have available to the child was EMS – someone that is equipped to handle an emergency situation, if the baby is in distress or complications arise,”” said Sonia Pesqueira, detective sergeant for the Pima County Sheriff’s Department for crimes against children and an original committee member of the Safe Baby Program in Pima County.

    It’s written in the state law that a person can legally leave a newborn with a safe haven provider and remain anonymous.

    According to state law, Sec. 2, Title 13, Chapter 36 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, “”A person is not guilty of abuse of a child … solely for leaving an unharmed newborn infant with a safe haven provider.””

    Also, “”A parent or agent of a parent who leaves a newborn infant with a safe haven provider may remain anonymous, and the safe haven provider shall not require the parent or agent to answer any questions.””

    If a parent chooses to leave information, he or she can still remain anonymous. The questionnaire provided at a safe haven, as found on the Tucson Safe Baby Web site, asks questions about the baby’s birth and the parents’ medical conditions.

    It contains a few additional questions about the parents’ age, race, religion, hair color and body build, but a parent can answer none or as many as he or she would like.

    The Women’s Health department in Campus Health also provides many resources for pregnant women.

    “”What we do is, if the patient comes in and thinks they are pregnant … (we) give them several options, usually confirm it with a urine pregnancy test here in our lab,”” Diane Oberfeld, a registered nurse in Women’s Health said.

    Oberfeld said a woman would then be able to see a provider who would “”go over all of their options from A to Z.””

    “”Any of the practitioners are experienced … from obstetrics to gynecology,”” Oberfeld said, “”They’re very comfortable with these kinds of things; we find that our patients are very comfortable with them also,”” she said.

    Oberfeld said Campus Health could also give students a list of local clinics to go to for help.

    “”We can give them information about local OB-GYN practitioners,”” Oberfeld said. “”All they would have to do, if they’re interested, is just call or stop in at Women’s Health or Triage.””

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