Today Nebraska lawmakers voted (43-5) to change the state safe-haven law. All 50 states have these safe-haven laws, allowing parents to leave infants at a hospital anonymously without fear of prosecution. They were passed in an effort to prevent unwanted babies from being abandoned in less safe locations.
But when Nebraska set up their law, they failed to provide an age limit. The result is that people have been driving even from out of state, just to drop of their children. They’ve come from Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, and even Florida.
Since September, when the law took effect, they’ve already had thirty five children dropped off, all but six of them older than 10. Today the Senate held an emergency session to change the law.
But is there a problem with the law, or is there a problem with society?
Full disclosure, having myself been abandoned by my father when I was about 2 and by my mother when I was 11, I have strong feelings on the matter that may cloud my vision.
But to me this whole scenario has exposed a terrible flaw in society, and this is just the tip of the iceburg (granted, one of the more atrocious illustrations of this flaw). To me it speaks to the dramatic deterioration of the family.
As a society have we come to so disregard the family? Unwanted and out of wedlock pregnancies abound because of this disregard. And as a society how do we rate this. It’s strange to me that anyone can have a child and we have laws allowing them to abandon them at will at a hospital, but I have to have a license to catch a fish. There’s something innately wrong with that.
Are there scenarios where it may be in everyone’s best interest for a child to live somewhere else? Perhaps (far be it from me to judge each scenario), but it should be done with extreme trepidation, care, prayerful consideration, inspired guidance, and using appropriate channels (for there are worthy parents out there who are willing and anxious to care for these children). But what kind of solution is it to simply walk away from the problem. Especially when that walking away is from your very children, who love you, and look to you for support.
What kind of culture does that create? What kind of message and habit does that perpetuate?
Families are ordained of God. It’s central to His plan for the eternal destiny of His children. Families are the mortar of society, and anything that would weaken those bonds (including the dereliction of duty by parents) threatens not only society but our own exaltation.
The protection and preservation of the family is not only crucial to those who have their own families, but to every individual, for families form the fabric of eternity, and our eternal destinies are interwoven in that fabric, regardless how isolated we may feel or try to become. The hearts of the children MUST turn to their fathers, and the hearts of the fathers MUST turn to their children. There is immeasurable and ill-understood power in these relationships both on this side of the veil and beyond.
This same eternal and divine power that binds us together as relatives, is the very power that will strengthen you, support you, and give even the most weary parents the emotional and spiritual sustenance they need to overcome even the most daunting of life’s many challenges.
So if you are one who is struggling against such challenges, and considering such a dramatic course of action, let me speak to you clearly. There is no challenge beyond which the Lord has power to help you overcome. Do not turn away from your family. Instead, turn to them, and experience the infinite power that is available to those who endeavor to strengthen those family bonds, instead of breaking them. Turn inward, not outward, and you’ll find strength and support from the Lord in ways that you may have never imagined.
Families are eternal. Let them not be so easily broken by such temporary strains, no matter how difficult they may seem at the time.
If you haven’t already, just read “The Family: A proclamation to the World” and let your soul reflect upon the words of a latter-day prophet.