Contributing factors to the decriminalization of infant abandonment and the implementation of safe haven legislation
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] The purpose of this research study was to explore the contributing factors to the decriminalization of infant abandonment and the rapid implementation of safe haven legislation across the United States. The goal was to seek information on what was being reported in the media and the public's reactions prior to enacting the legislation in eight states; California, Connecticut, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York and Texas. These states were chosen because they provided a good sample of politically different regions in the United States. Content analysis was used in order to examine various media reports and to compare the components of safe haven legislation. The research study led the researcher to conclude that the rapid implementation of safe haven legislation was a response to public desires to save lives of infants by decriminalizing the once criminal act of abandoning an infant. Furthermore, public concerns were inflamed by media reports. The implementation of safe haven legislation in the states of California, Connecticut, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York and Texas were explored via newspaper articles, legislative websites. The states provided a good sample of politically diverse regions of the United States. The conclusion reached was that the media provided an avenue for public awareness of infant abandonment, which contributed to moral outrage about babies being left to die. Additionally, politicians in response to public anxiety rapidly passed safe haven legislation.
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