Suzanne Hobbs, a journalist in Idaho Falls, Idaho, was on the scene in 2000 when police discovered a discarded body of a newborn baby. Police later questioned a teenager who confessed to the crime. The 18-year-old mother, who claimed the baby was stillborn, was convicted of unlawful disposal of a body.
After speaking with the teen's father, Suzanne learned that Idaho did not have a safe haven law, though many other states did. Safe haven laws enable mothers to bring babies to certain places—like hospitals, fire stations and police stations—and leave them in the care of the state, with no questions asked. The teenager's father told Suzanne he believed that if Idaho had a law like this, his grandchild may have lived.
Since 1999, 47 states have adopted their own individual safe haven laws. Only three states—Nebraska, Hawaii and Alaska—do not yet have safe haven laws.
Suzanne proceeded to call her state senator, pressing him to take on the issue. "For six months, I bothered the state senator," she says. "He finally got it through, it passed with flying colors through the the Idaho Senate and the House." When the governor signed the law, Suzanne says, "he said, 'Thank you for your help on this law. Your fingerprints are all over this law.'"
Since the safe haven law was passed in Idaho, 13 newborns have been surrendered...including the baby girl who is now Suzanne's adopted daughter.