The Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act
Over ten years ago, the Illinois legislature enacted the Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act, 325 ILCS 2 et. al., to allow distressed parents of an infant the ability to safely relinquish a newborn without the fear of civil or criminal penalties. under the law, the act of “relinquishing a newborn infant to a hospital, police station, fire station, or emergency medical facility in accordance with this Act does not, by itself, constitute a basis for a finding of abuse, neglect or abandonment of the infant.”
This law is important because prior to its enactment, parents leaving an infant could, and most likely would, be prosecuted. The law also provides ways and means for a parent to petition for return of the infant prior to his or her rights being terminated.
Despite the intervening years, many emotionally distressed parents may not be familiar with this option, and tragedies still occur. Although the law includes a public information campaign on this delicate issue, additional publicity is always needed. Increasing the general public’s knowledge of this law helps save newborns and keeps their parents from being prosecuted criminally or civilly.
Lori G. Levin
Attorney at Law
180 N. LaSalle, Suite 3700
Chicago, IL 60601