LINCOLN, Neb. – A woman drove her 12-year-old son from Georgia to Nebraska to abandon him under the state's unique safe-haven law, the 20th child left at a hospital since the law took effect in July.
The boy, from the Atlanta suburb of Smyrna, Ga., was dropped off at BryanLGH Medical Center East Saturday night, said Todd Landry of the Department of Health and Human Services.
The youngster is the third child from out of state driven to Nebraska to be abandoned under the law.
Nebraska's law is the only one in the country that allows caregivers to abandon children as old as 18 at hospitals without fear of prosecution.
Nebraska and Georgia officials are working together to decide what to do with the boy, who was placed in residential shelter care, Landry said. Abandoned children from Iowa and Michigan have been returned to their states.
The law, intended to protect newborns, was written to include the word "child," which some have interpreted to mean teenagers. Most of the Nebraska Legislature's 49 senators have agreed to amend the law in January so it applies only to infants up to 3 days old.
Gov. Dave Heineman has resisted calls for a special legislative session, but said Oct. 20 that he would call a special session if there were several more safe-haven cases from out of state. On Monday his spokeswoman said Heineman has not changed his mind about the special session.
The Georgia boy's mother, who has not been identified, was raised in Nebraska, according to a Monday story in the Lincoln Journal Star. She told the newspaper that she regretted her actions but thought the safe-haven law was her last chance at saving her troubled son.