Change of Heart: Safe Haven Education Bill Moves Forward
Photo: Linda Prudhomme, Executive Director of Colorado Safe Haven for Newborns, testifies to the Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee on January 16th, 2018 in favor of Senate Bill 19-025.
DENVER – Just a week after Senate Democrats “played games with a life-saving bill,” according to a Gazette Editorial, it seems that hearts have changed. Senate Bill 19-025, Senator Jim Smallwood’s (R-Parker) bill to ensure the teaching of the Safe Haven law in Colorado schools passed through the Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee last night in a unanimous vote – and it won’t be contingent on any other legislation.
Senators on the committee agreed to remove Senator Mike Foote’s (D-Boulder) original amendment (L.003) that would have made the implementation of Senate Bill 19-025 dependent on another piece of legislation – House Bill 19-1032 – which pertains to sexual education in Colorado schools.
Additionally, members of the committee agreed to adopt Senator Smallwood’s original amendment (L.002) which would move Safe Haven education from sexual education to health education, ensuring that the Safe Haven law will be taught even if a school decides not to teach sexual education.
“I am very thankful to members of the State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee for their careful consideration of this legislation. It’s a great piece of legislation that will help save newborns and allow young women to continue with their lives without making a tragic mistake,” said Senator Smallwood. “I am optimistic about it getting through the Senate and moving quickly to the House.”
Once the amendments were decided, the committee voted unanimously to send SB19-025 to the Senate floor. There was preliminary agreement to introduce an additional amendment on the floor during second reading to ensure that schools wouldn’t be required to teach the Safe Haven law twice if it is added to the sexual education curriculum at a later date.
“We are so happy that this bill to teach the Safe Haven law in health classes is moving forward,” said Linda Prudhomme, Executive Director of Colorado Safe Haven for Newborns. “The Safe Haven Law can only work if the mother knows about it, and the only comprehensive way to reach girls approaching child-bearing age is to talk about it in school.”
For reference, please take a look at Shaun Boyd’s story covering Senate Bill 19-025 in committee last week.
Information on Colorado’s Safe Haven law: Colorado’s Safe Haven law allows a parent to anonymously hand over a newborn at a fire station, hospital, or freestanding emergency room. A woman who has been hiding her pregnancy can keep her baby safe, while still protecting her secret. Since the law passed in 2000, 60 infants have been safely relinquished in Colorado. Nationwide, more than 3,600 babies have been saved by Safe Haven Laws.
(information provided by Colorado Safe Haven for Newborns)