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Speaker Coughlin Bill Requiring “New Jersey Safe Haven Infant Protection Act” Education in Public Schools Clears Assembly Panel

Measure Would Teach Curriculum to Grades 9-12, Aims to Prevent Harm, Death of Unwanted Babies

Aiming to educate students about a safe, legal and anonymous means to surrender their newborn child that they do not wish to keep, a measure requiring public school students in grades 9 through 12 to receive information on the “New Jersey Safe Haven Infant Protection Act” cleared the Assembly Women and Children Committee Thursday.

The bill (A-1380) would require the instruction to be part of the school’s Core Curriculum Content Standards in Comprehensive Health and Physical Education. It is sponsored by Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-Middlesex) who issued the following statement:

“By allowing students to become educated on the Safe Haven Protection Act, we will decrease the likelihood that students, often in a state of intense fear and anxiety, will harm or discard their newborn child as covered in recent reports.

“Through this bill, students will know that they, or someone acting on their behalf, can surrender their baby, less than 30 days old, at any hospital emergency room, police station, fire house or rescue squad that is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“Not only does this bill save the life of a newborn baby who can be placed in the care of a loving family, it will also prevent the emotional trauma, guilt and legal repercussions that can result when a student discards a newborn.”

The bill is now poised for a vote in the full Assembly.